Groundhog Day is one of my favorite movies ever. For me, it has been one of the greatest messages from God/Mr. Everything/The Absoluteness That Is that I’ve ever received. Let me explain what I mean, in 500 words or less. Here goes —
The story line, most of you know: Bill Murray’s character gets stuck in eternity, in Hell on Earth (a hellish life, a hellish personality, a hellish job, a hellish town, on a hellish day …). And in this eternal hell, he is able to explore without consequence. He can explore his dark side. He can explore his kindness. He can be adventurous and do dangerous things. And he can explore his intellectual and emotional territory, including expressing his yet-to-be-reciprocated love for Andie MacDowall’s character.
In time, he comes to find not just peace with his life in eternity, but passion about his life, love experienced, goodness made manifest and the joy of Heaven on Earth. Now, I don’t know much about the Bible or religious writings, and the spiritual-but-not-religious folk have their own views, too, but in my view and experience, Earth is the mid-point between “Heaven” and “Hell,” where Heaven is union with Mr. Everything and the magic of everyday living, even and especially among the dark and thick world of the physical, and “Hell” is the separation from all of that and the experience of everyday living as hateful, difficult, cumbersome and hard.
Now, when Bill Murray’s character finally does break the bonds of eternity, he chooses to stay where he is. He has come to understand that it’s not the place (the town) that he was in that was Hell, as he had originally believed, but it was his life that was Hell and hellish. In his transformation, he has found that the gates of Heaven are open to him and he can do anything, anywhere … not because he is “immortal” and will wake up once again at 6:00 a.m., unscathed, but because he now has enough experience in his life to be at choice about how to navigate the world and find the Heaven that is here to be had.
Another thing that I have come to understand about my life is that I enjoy the seasons. And while it’s easy to see life through the lens of time moving linearly and in one direction, I believe time moves cyclically and in a spiral. Seasons remind me of this, and crossquarter days are midpoints in our seasons.
Just as Punxsutawney Phil and groundhogs across America are slated to predict a cold second half of winter (staying in Hell) or a quicker arrival of Spring (moving toward Heaven), the movie Groundhog Day, to me, brilliantly represents that choice:
Where am I headed? Heaven or Hell? Or stuck somewhere in between?
Happy Groundhog Day!