You Are God's Best Idea! Daily Epigram for:
February 3, 2012
“While you are reliving yesterday and imagining
tomorrow - you might be missing the best part of today.”-Douglas Holzmeier
On Groundhog Day 2007 - I was working in what is known as Chicagoland. The population of Chicago is 2.7 million. The outlying areas - known as the collar counties - contain nearly 7.5 million more citizens. Woodstock, Illinois is a northwest Chicago suburb of collar county - McHenry. McHenry County is the most populated county in the United States without a single mile of highway going through it. Woodstock was best known as the home of Dick Tracy creator Chester Gould (there’s a museum there) and where Orson Welles lived and went to school as a teenager. (There should be a museum there!) It is also where my favorite movie was filmed: Groundhog Day. The theater Orson directed plays – the Woodstock Opera House - played a prominent role in the Groundhog Day movie. It is the hotel Rita and Larry stay in while Bill Murray is at the Bed & Breakfast on Cherry Street.
Groundhog Day was filmed and directed by Chicago area native Harold Ramis in Woodstock (Doubling for Punxsutawney) between March and May of 1992. The metaphysical movie met with warm reviews and box office success at the time. The screenplay by Danny Rubin received an Oscar nomination. Still – it came and went with only moderate fanfare. Over time, however, just like the story itself – a greater appreciation has emerged for this contemporary “Wonderful Life” movie companion. My Google search of Groundhog Day movie generated nearly 700,000 hits. Because an untold number of loyalists (including me!) are keeping its revelatory message alive - that Life – is really how you see it and what you make of it – Groundhog Day – much like It’s a Wonderful Life – will be embraced by generations to come. Its theme is as timeless as the day Phil Conners relives.
The radio station I programmed was licensed to Woodstock. I confess that I was drawn to this particular job in part because of my adoration for the Groundhog Day movie. The town of Woodstock celebrates Groundhog Day with a bit less (but ever growing) attention than Punxsutawney, yet the setting and celebration in the city square is similar to what you see in the movie. (Minus the blaring repetitious Pennsylvania Polka) As Groundhog Day 2007 approached - I was nearly giddy. Our stations did live broadcasts that morning as temperatures dipped to near zero. The attendance for the annual weather prognostication from the groundhog named - Woodstock Willie - was among the best in the town’s history. We celebrated with the (unofficial) World’s Largest Toast to World Peace that evening in the jailhouse bar where Phil and Rita do the same.
Many of us at one time or another can identify with the sardonic (and narcissistic) Phil Conners character and his “Is that all there is” view of life. Phil Conners is self-serving and self-absorbed through three-fourths of the story. Screenwriter Danny Rubin suggests that Phil spends many years reliving the same Groundhog Day – the only thing that ever changes is his reaction to the circumstances and appearances. He goes through all the stages of loss: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Ah – there’s that magical word again – Acceptance. Phil tries to con others – then tries to kill himself. It is only after he stops fooling himself and accepts his situation and makes the best (and most!) of it, that he is redeemed - embraced by the entire town when he chooses to love and serve them, and, in the end, beloved by the angelic Rita, played perfectly by Andie MacDowell. He even develops an appreciation for the most authentic person in the movie – the unabashedly joyful and annoying – Needle-Nose Ned Ryerson.
In Groundhog Day, after Phil wakes up on February 3rd with Rita in his arms, he says: “Today...is tomorrow.” He realizes what a gift he has been given to see a new day in a new way, and you know he will make the most of it.
Make today your February 3rd - fully awake and aware - grateful and ready to serve - knowing this is the Undeniable Life!
You Are God's Best Idea!
Author of You Are God's Best Idea! Divine Acceptations and Living the Undeniable Life! (Balboa Press/Hay House)
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