Same Thing, Different Day: Lessons A Classic Movie Offers For Coping With The Pandemic

Here in south Georgia, we continue to feel the effects of the pandemic. For more than a year, we’ve lived in a cycle of “same thing, different day.” Our perception of a passing inconvenience now has a life all its own.

The cycle of “same thing, different day” reminds me of one of my favorite old movies, the 1993 romantic comedy, “Groundhog Day.” In this romantic comedy, weatherman Phil Conner goes on location to the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the legendary festivities on that fateful day.

Then he ends up covering the same events over and over again day after day.

Tradition dictates that if the groundhog sees his shadow on this ‘historic’ day, he will return to his den. Then the rest of us will experience six more weeks of unwanted cold, dreary weather.  

It’s my belief that the pandemic has become our “Groundhog Day.” Like poor Phil, we’re stuck in a loop, unable to stop the ceaseless repetition.

We watch as those we love become embittered, cynical, dismayed, unnecessarily reckless, and self-loathing.

Some days, our patience wears paper-thin as each day mirrors the previous day. We learn that sameness takes a mental and emotional toll which colors our thoughts, conversations, and actions.    

Local and national news stations broadcast the Pandemic on our televisions. We witness the heartbreak and grim realities of the havoc while watching the devastation in real-time. We already know that we will hear the same sorrowful news tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. 

Despite a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel, the Delta Variant reared its ugly head.  This is no friendly groundhog that is afraid of its shadow. Now, families all over the world watch helplessly as increasing numbers of children suffer from this deadly virus.

We now saturate our vocabulary with a plethora of pandemic words:    unprecedented, challenging times, social distancing, face masks, transmission, ventilator, self-quarantine, shutdown, isolation, essential business, and state of emergency.  

While we tire of the over-use of these words, we are better informed than we were before. A year ago, many of us did not even know that an N-95 mask existed.  Now we wear one.

The Pandemic is more than a health crisis.  It reminds us of the toll of genuine human suffering. We are learning to grieve. We are learning acceptance.

The Pandemic will eventually end.  History tells us so.  

In the movie, Phil Conner changed his reality by changing himself.  We can, too.

This reality is the only one we know until we decide to change things. From Phil, we learn that changes we want and need to see must come from within.

We cannot be afraid of our shadows and dwell in dread, fear, and uncertainty.

Instead, let us seize this day. Let us practice again and again to open our hearts and minds.

Let’s work together to create new opportunities, meet challenges, and renew our faith.

Our faith, our families, and our community of support will see us safely through.

Perhaps the light of our faith and love will dim the hold that the shadow of this pandemic has on us.

When the groundhog emerges from his deep burrow on Wednesday, February 22, 2022, I’ll be watching.

May his shadow be nowhere to be seen.