There is currently a short comedy clip doing the rounds. It’s a mock-up of the popular quiz, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire in which a contestant is offered a question with four possible answers: What day is it? a/Monday, b/Tuesday, c/1982, d/Saturday. The contestant looks baffled and eventually replies; ‘I have no idea.’
Phil Connors might well have given the same answer to this question. He has woken up in Punxsutawney, and discovered that the day is exactly the same as the one yesterday. Same songs on the radio, same DJ banter, same weather, same conversations, same events happening. And nobody else seems to notice. He is caught in the same day. Groundhog Day. Again and again and again.
Phil cannot escape. No matter how much he tries. So at first he becomes destructive, kicking against this neverending case of déjà vu. Using it for his own selfish purposes. But gradually he changes, and the situation changes him. He starts learning the piano, he helps folks when he knows they are going to need it, he rescues folk when he knows they are about to be hurt in various ways. I have seen this movie a lot and have wondered what I might do if I were trapped in the same day again and again. Well… in some ways here we are. Not all of us, for a good number their working life goes on, perhaps busier than before. But for others it feels a little like Groundhog Day today. There is a moment in the film Fellowship of the Ring, when Gandalf tells Frodo that the important thing is to decide what to do with the time given to us. Not easy when we wish we could escape from things as they are. For some this Groundhog time is piling on the pressure. Adding to loneliness, mental health problems, financial and family pressures. I’m grateful for the many initiatives where folks are encouraging us to care. I’m moved when I read stories of folks going that extra mile, that extra 10, 20, 500 miles to make a difference. At the end of the first High School Musical film the kids sing, ‘We’re all in this together.’ It’s a bit of an earworm, but I’ll leave you with that song. It’s a great reminder. May you know encouragement today.