Phil, Over and Over

Today is Groundhog’s Day. It’s exactly halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. In the northern hemisphere it’s a time when we are growing weary of the darkness of winter and looking forward to the light and new beginnings of spring. It has an interesting history with its origins in ancient Rome, pagan Irish traditions and Christian purification rituals and candles. But, it seems to have morphed into woodchucks predicting the weather. I guess the blues of winter have set in and we need some comic relief.

Which reminds me of the classic movie, “Groundhog Day.”


The movie was more than just another light comedy. Bill Murray played the lead character Phil Connors who finds himself living one day over and over until he gets it right. Getting it right means learning to put others first, finding compassion, growing kinder and understanding that real change must come from inside ourselves rather than waiting on the world around us to change. 

You know I can think of many days or times that I think I’d like to get a do-over. Later as I replay conversations or actions in my mind (kind of like the movie) I think of how I could have responded in a kinder, more compassionate or less self-centered manner. But do I really challenge myself to change so that I don’t repeat those actions? Frequently not! I tend to repeat my substandard actions over and over again in multiple situations.

But the good news is this: God doesn’t make us relive our days over and over until we get it right. There is nothing we can do that will make God love us less. Nothing. We are the recipients of such grace that we can start fresh, with a clean slate each day…each hour…each minute! God wants to help us change, God isn’t waiting on us to change.

So let’s laugh at the antics of Punxsutawney Phil and the celebrations around him. And let’s rejoice that God is ready to take away our “winter” and fill us with the breath of new life!

Peace and joy,

Psalm 90:1-4, 12-14
God’s Eternity and Human Frailty-
Lord, you have been our dwelling-place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You turn us back to dust, and say, ‘Turn back, you mortals.’
For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or like a watch in the night.

You sweep them away; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning;
in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.

So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.

Turn, O Lord! How long? Have compassion on your servants!
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.


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