Wednesday, 2 February 2011

It's déjà vu all over again...

Groundhog Day - what a great film! Not 'great' as in 'Metropolis' great, or 'Casablanca' great, or 'Citizen Kane' great, but great as in 'warm, amusing and entertaining' great. It's not really a film you have to think about too much, to be honest, but I love it anyway.

It revolves around today, February 2nd, and a small-town weather reporter trying to 'get off' with his colleague whilst endlessly (it seems) repeating the same day over and over again until his goal is reached and he has become a better person as a result of his experiences.

This got me thinking: would I like a Groundhog Day? Is there a day in my life I would like another chance at, if that were possible? In the almost 50 years of my life I have made many mistakes, done many things that I regretted (almost as soon as I'd done them in many instances). If I could, would I like to revisit those scenes, and replay them differently? And what would be the consequences, for me and for others, if I could do that? For the relationships that I have messed up over that time?

The truth is that, sadly some may think, that is just not possible. Life is a live show, not pre-recorded, there's no second take to be had: what goes out goes out 'as is'. But as a Christian I believe that any of life's potential out-takes that couldn't make the cutting-room floor have been dealt with and forgiven - maybe not by those who were immediately affected by them, and sometimes not by their perpetrator, but by one who is ultimately concerned for every relationship, good and bad, and who feels and shares every pain. Lives can be, and are being, put right, not by re-running the past, but by letting the burden of their mistakes rest on the shoulders of one who cares for us [1 Peter 5:7].

This got me thinking: would I like a Groundhog Day? Is there a day in my life I would like another chance at: not one that was dreadful, but one that was incredible? That day when you first met the person who was to become your spouse, soul-mate and lover; that day when your first child was born; that day when you listened to your favourite record for the first time; that day when you first decided to follow Jesus. But then again, would they be that special second time around? Isn't part of their special-ness the fact that, although they are such a real part of who you are (certainly of who I am), they are also a dim memory - there, but not there. Yes, we can review them and renew them and remember them, but we can never repeat them. And maybe that's not a bad thing, as it would any cheapen what may be the key moments and relationships of our lives; those life-moments that make us who we are.

Today is also the Feast of the Presentation, or Candlemass. This is the day in the Christian calendar when we remember Jesus being presented at the Temple, and being warmly welcomed by two old people, Simeon & Anna, who had waited for this day to come for many years. Simeon's response was not that this day could be repeated over and over again, but that he could now 'depart in peace', as the purpose of his life was complete: his eyes had seen God's Salvation. I believe that that is the goal of all our lives: that we may see God's salvation - and see it in the face of Jesus.