Lettersto Jesus (Ego, False-self, and Groundhog Day -1
The phenomenon of the extent of Hollywood’s international influence is something I believe the industry itself does not always fully realize. The profit motive here is usually everything and it is driven by the culture and, in turn, feeds the culture.
When I was overseas in a third world country about 40 years ago, a predominate image of the American was that of a gun-toting cowboy gleaned, of course, from all the imported westerns. Just the other night I saw an ad on TV for an upcoming documentary on how Hollywood has influenced the Moslem world.
In the symbiotic relationship between Hollywood and pop culture every once in awhile there appears a movie that, I swear, has more substance to it than Hollywood ever intended. Such a movie is Groundhog Day.On the surface it is a comedy about a weatherman who is doomed to live February 2, over and over again. But, more deeply (and maybe unwittingly) it harbors powerful messages for the spiritual life.
If one day is taken as a metaphor for the life of a person, we see the countless opportunities offered to us by the love of God to keep doing it over until we get it right. In the frustration, anger, joy, despair, conniving, stubbornness and slow awakening of the central character we get a picture of ourselves trying each day to get it right. Each day we make mistakes – some of them over and over again until we are exasperated with ourselves. But if we don’t give up hope, we eventually “catch on.”
It’s interesting that all this repetitive stumbling in the movie has to do with relating to others. It is by others that we fall, and through others that we rise. Only by working at union with others and with The Other can we get to a new day.
There is salvation in the boringly recurring errors we make if only we don’t fail to nurture the hope that we can wake up tomorrow and start over again. The deeper message of this movie is contained in its allegorical protagonist – an “everyman” who could be Peter, Paul, Thomas, Francis or – me!