“This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather.” – Bill Murray, Groundhog Day
This Tuesday is Groundhog Day, a North American tradition observed in the US and Canada on February 2. Its origins come from a Pennsylvania Dutch superstition: if a groundhog sees its shadow on this day, then winter will last for six more weeks; if it doesn’t see its shadow, spring will come early.
In the 1993 fantasy comedy, Groundhog Day, Bill Murray plays a world-weary TV weatherman sent to cover the annual Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. There, he gets trapped in a time loop and has to relive February 2 repeatedly. No matter what he does on that day, he wakes up the next morning to do it again.
Murray’s character follows a fascinating progression. First, he spends each Groundhog Day trying to take whatever he can get. Then he begins pursing his love interest in a self-serving way, to no avail. Growing despondent, he tries in several ways to take his own life, only to wake up again on Groundhog Day. Eventually, he decides to pursue his love interest for what he can give to the relationship, and finally spends his (repeated) days making life better for others, leading to the final resolution.
As I celebrate Carrie’s and my 33rd anniversary this weekend, I’m struck by how in some ways marriage can mirror the movie, Groundhog Day. I’m not saying that marriage is some long, repetitive slog through life; after all, there are countless changes that take place throughout a marriage. But from one day to the next and one week to the next, things may not look terribly different. And during such routine seasons, our daily choices can serve to move us closer or farther apart, deeper in love or further adrift.
Groundhog Day serves as a parable about life and how we choose to spend it. Though there is certainly variety in life, it is also true that many days are not terribly different from the days preceding and following, especially during this current season of COVID quarantining and isolation. We have choices about how we spend those “ordinary” days: in self-serving and self-interested pursuits or to bless, encourage, and lift up others; in cynicism and anger or in hope and kindness. How will you spend your “ordinary” days?