Groundhog Day

Doug, holding our new-born daughter in 1992.

Many years ago, my District Superintendent, Doug Anderson, told us something very profound. It changed my life. He reported that one of his favorite holidays (and movies) is Groundhog Day. I’d never seen the film before but went right out to BlockBuster and rented it on VHS. Now I feel the same way about this cinematic gem.

I love Bill Murray and alongside that cult favorite “What About Bob?”, his role in “Groundhog Day” is classic.  I own both movies and watch them whenever Anita isn’t in the house. (She doesn’t have the same appreciation for great art that I do.)

If you aren’t familiar with the premise of the movie, Murray’s character is stuck in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Every day is Groundhog Day, and he must choose between making self-destructive, self-absorbed decisions, or making the lives of others richer and more meaningful. It’s in this process of self-discovery and goodness that he enriches the lives of the townspeople and his own life.

My son and I were watching the movie a few years ago. As Murray’s character is learning to play the piano, progressing from beginner to performance expert, Ben said without thinking, “If I had every day to live over and over, I would learn to play the piano, too.” I looked at him and laughed. “You DO have every day to live over and over. You have the rest of your life!

This is the point, isn’t it? Why don’t we take advantage of every minute of every day? We don’t have to be stuck in some Twilight Zone Rodent Holiday to grow, develop and expand our lives and horizons. We can be different. We can be better. We can learn to love others more than ourselves. We simply have to choose this option.

And so, as we celebrate the strangest holiday on our calendar, I know that Doug and I are both watching this film, laughing at Murray, thinking about our own lives and ways we can make them better. I suggest rushing down to your nearest BlockBuster and joining along!

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