Northwestern Ohio District
Church of the Nazarene

GROUNDHOG DAY . . .

This blog is supposed to be made public on the first day of each month. Hence, the heading “FIRST DAY.” However, this one got by me, and as I write it is
Feb. 2 – Groundhog Day.

I probably have a little more interest in GHD than most people for the simple reason my dad went to high school in Punxsutawney, PA. Several years ago, my brother, nephew, dad and I took a few days to visit my dad’s “old stompin’ grounds” in northwestern Pennsylvania … the general store his parents owned, the mountain woods of Elk County and two houses he lived in. It was a trip down “memory lane” while in itself becoming a memory-making experience.

While in Punxsutawney, we went to see Phil the Groundhog. When he is not making meteorological predictions, he “lives” in a Plexiglas solarium attached to a building that looks like a former bank. It’s really not all that impressive of a place to call home, unless, I suppose, you are a groundhog used to living in a hole.

“Groundhog Day” is one of Bill Murray’s most famous movies. Just in case you have never seen it, the movie is about a television news crew from Pittsburgh assigned with covering the “big day” in Punxsutawney. Murray’s character, Phil Conners, the TV weatherman, goes through the day bored with the assignment and focused on himself.

The next day the radio alarm goes off, and much to Conner’s surprise, it is once again Feb. 2. This happens day after day after day. Realizing he is stuck in Feb. 2 causes Conners to react in a variety of ways in successive days … at first frustrated, then recklessly and hedonistically. But, alas, (in that the movie is 24 years old, I don’t think a spoiler alert is necessary here) finally Phil Conners begins to live that day for its highest possible good … being sensitive toward and genuinely caring about others who cross his path that day.

Recently, I heard a “TV preacher” state that every morning she prays, Lord, please put people in my path today I can bless, and help me to see them. I have been living with that thought, and even praying that prayer since then.

The Scripture, in various ways, highlights the temporary nature of “today.” It is here … and then quickly gone. In real life there are no “do overs” for a day. Tomorrow it will be Feb. 3. Thus, it behooves us to live each short day to its fullest. And at the heart of that is living with an eye to those in our “paths” we might not otherwise see.

Lord, please put people in my path today I can bless, and help me to see them. Amen.

– Geoff Kunselman