Photo by click on Morgue File.
In one of my favorite movies (a movie my wife just does not understand the appeal), Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell, the lead character, a weatherman named Phil Connors, lives the same day over and over and over.
He is on assignment in Punxsutawney, PA covering Groundhog Day. He, along with many others, are there to see if the star of the town, Punxsutawney Phil, will see his shadow or not.
As the movie goes along, weatherman Phil (not to be confused with Groundhog Phil!) finds himself reliving the same day over and over again. Each morning he is awakened at 6 am by his alarm clock. As the clock cranks up, we hear Sonny and Cher singing, I Got You Babe and then two local radio DJ’s break in talking about the big day.
The first DJ says, Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s cooooold out there today.
I have thought about this line a few times as late, as it has been very cold in this part of the world. Fall decided to give way to winter it seems. Of course, as weather in these parts tends to do, in a few days time it is suppose to be back around 70 degrees!
But, what of the premise of reliving the same day over and over again? What would be the pros and cons of such an existence?
Certainly, as Phil experiences in the movie, after a while, the monotony would become overwhelming. It would become drudgery and laborious seeing and experiencing the same things over and over and over and over and over . . . ad infinitum!
Phil does try to break up the monotony in parts of the movie, by doing different things, having different responses to events and changing his attitudes along the way. But, for all that, he is stuck in the same day. He is the only one who is reliving these same old events.
But, would there be any pros to such an existence? Well, there would not be any surprises to life. You would not have to worry about many things anymore, because you would already know what was going to happen. The future (to call it that) would be fixed and settled. Would this be appealing?
I suppose it would depend on which day you were reliving! In the movie, Phil remembers a day or two that he considered to be good days, days he would have loved to live over and over; instead, he finds himself trapped in a day that is rather bland and typical. He is stuck in a place he does not really want to be in the first place. He is stuck being around people he does not really care for (at least in the beginning of the movie). He is stuck doing a job he hates. His biggest desire is to get the devil out of dodge as quickly as he can; but, alas he is stuck, perpetually so.
Have you ever had a day you would like to live again? We have all probably said something to the effect of, I wish I could experience that again. Or, I wish I could go back and relive that. Then again, most of our experiences and days are probably fairly lackluster. No real thrilling events that would cause us to necessarily want to live them again.
It would be my luck to relive a day in which I was having a root canal or a day when I was sick at home with the flu!
While reliving the same day over and over again is not a reality, there is something to be said for the sameness of life.
On the one hand, if we are not careful, we can find ourselves in ruts. Our lives become one big repeat with little distinction or variety to break up the tediousness of it all. We become colorless, our affect is flat and we mindlessly wander through this thing called life.
Routine is not necessarily bad, but it can become drudgery if we are not careful. What we don’t want to do is to forget that life is precious and it is a gift. Life is not a right that was ours, it is a gift that God has given us. As with all things that God gives, we are to be good stewards of it.
The fact is, we can find purpose and grace in even the mundane activities of life. Something as simple and ordinary as taking a shower can be grounds for praising and thanking God. How so? We can think about our bodies as we bathe and thank God for the health he has given us. We can thank him for those parts that function and allow us movement and mobility. We can thank him for our senses and the organs that aid in those. Even more, we can thank him for creating us in his image (the Imago Dei) and pray that we would live accordingly.
As we wash clothes or dishes we can see it as an opportunity to be thankful. We can thank God for what he has allowed us to have. Whether that be great or small, we can still thank him for the allowance he has graciously given to us. We can thank him for providing for us and meeting the needs we have in life. It may be a good time to take stock of our lives, priorities and spending habits. We may find that we have less because we are not being good stewards with what God has already allowed us. We may be confusing wants and needs. We may be spending too frivolously, when we should be more conscientious of our money and what we buy.
Jesus said he had come to give us life, more abundant life! But, abundant life can be found even in the smallest of details. God’s wonder and grace is on display in millions of ways: ways we often are insensitive to and flatly ignore.
So, while life may at times seem tedious, laborious or monotonous, remember that God’s grace is evident in even the most ordinary things. It is up to us to be mindful of it. It is up to us to take notice and be appreciative.
I am thankful there are days I do not have to relive. Sure, I relive them to some degree in my mind, but at least I do not have to relive them over and over again. Those days I would just as soon forget. Those days that brought pain, heartache and loss. We tend to torture ourselves, by reliving those days over and over again in our memories. But even in the memories of these solemn days, we can find release through Christ. Christ who can redeem even the darkest and most hateful of days.
So, when you rise and shine, take a deep breath and be grateful for even the small, seemingly inconsequential and insignificant things in life . . . because God’s goodness and grace are found even in those things.