I didn’t understand what was happening when Phil grabbed the toaster from the continental breakfast bar. The attendant didn’t either. He returned to his room, set the appliance down on the toilet, plugged it in, then jammed down both of the levers, concealing four pieces of bread in their slots. Next, he stepped into the bathtub, still donning his blue pajamas. It had been filled with water, probably before he traipsed downstairs. The weatherman sat down, grabbed the humming appliance- still toasting bread, then dropped it in the water with him. The lights went out downstairs.
A fictional character did something dramatic to escape his circumstances
Phil the weatherman didn’t want to live the same day over and over again. Single, aging and doing the Groundhog routine repeatedly was a miniature version of hell itself. He wanted it to stop. Something about it is reminiscent of Sartre’s No Exit.
Sometimes, I can relate to Bill Murray’s character- experiencing a succession of days that all seem to be the same. I feel it most in the morning, when I pray. Specifically, when I confess the sins of the previous day. Yesterday’s frustrations linger like a hangover. The angry words I vomited while driving to work, the distance between loved ones and I, brought on by unmet expectations all return in a moment of reflection. It’s easy to remember my lustful eyes. I wish I could snatch each of them from their sockets like Uma Thurman did to Elle in Kill Bill Vol. 2 while quoting Matthew 18 at myself. It’s all there, every morning. And it’s all the same. I don’t have many new sins. I haven’t taken up any new vices, but it’s the scenario that I repented of yesterday, the day before yesterday and the day before that- going back for years now.
I know better than to sit in condemnation. Jesus took care of all of the wrongs I’ve done and ever will do. But sometimes, the complaint is, “Still, Jesus? I should be better than this by now.”
Because of the fall, to be alive is to sin. Kind of. I wouldn’t set that down as a theological argument, but would say that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. And we constantly fall short of it. And though we might be followers of Christ, that in itself does not perfect us right away. Even the best of us won’t experience total sanctification in our lifetime, because humanity is wrapped in depravity. Talking to any old person would reveal this within the first five minutes of conversation.
If you’ve seen the movie, Groundhog Day, you know that suicide didn’t solve Phil’s problem. He woke up the next day and went through the same routine again. He employed all kinds of methods to get past February 2, 1993, failing to do so until the woman he loved stayed the night and he expressed that he was in love with her. That officially makes this movie a bad example, because I’m writing about sin. But, if we speak Hollywood, then sex equals love and there’s our answer! Love saved the day. Let’s go with that. (Clearly, I’m trying too hard to make this work.)
Love is the answer to the sin that we can’t seem to escape from. That is the Gospel message. I feel like I’ve got a series of things I could write about sin, but focusing on the problem does’t make it any better. At the same time, It seems that so many people can accept some idea of Jesus without any acknowledgement of sin, which makes no sense. We’ll see what follows.