Like a rolling river, days pass into weeks and weeks into months and months into years and years into decades and so on and so on into the sea. From the cradle to the grave our lives have a finite number of days. But what if we didn’t die? What if like in the movie “Groundhog Day” we lived our lives forever?
Phil Connors, in the movie, must live one day over and over and over again, maybe up to 1,000 years of repeated days. An eternity. Phil, yearns for finality. His eternal existence depresses him to a point where death is preferable to monotony. (Would we wish for the same? Or maybe we should take joy in death because it brings us closer to God.) As only comedies can do Phil’s repeated failures at death seem inocent and bring quite a laugh. But the fact that he wants death is telling. Just as it is natural for a river to flow down into the sea it is natural for us to grow older and to die. But because Phil can’t die he must live his repeated day. And by living he comes to a point where he wants to grow old. His strongest desire is to change, but to achieve that desire he realizes he must make each day special. He must begin to love, but not the me first need based love, the unselfish love that places others needs ahead of his own needs. Once he starts living for others his endless number of days, which must have been terribly monotonous at times (imagine seeing the same people struggle with the same problems day in and day out), become special. Once he starts living for the people of Punxatawney his attitude toward them changes. Where there was once hate there is now love.
I know I am going to die someday. I have not been stuck in some horrible time warp where I live the same day over and over again. But sometimes my days can feel that way. My life in Guatemala can feel extraordinary and some times it can just be plain ordinary. Every Monday I wake up and go to work. I teach 2nd grade, 1st grade, and then kindergarten PE. This repeats again and again. Is my job a stagnate eddy or a river rolling along to somewhere greater, changing me into a better man. If it is an eddy my job would be pointless. If it is a river taking me somewhere then that changes everything. I believe the only way to know is to answer the question Phil Connors asks, “What would you do with your life if you had one day to live? What do you want out of life?”
I am starting to feel like I have one more day left to live in Guatemala. I know I have a couple of months, but those months flow right by like a raging river. My time in Guatemala is finite. I feel like I need to live each day to the fullest, because a chance like living in another country and learning another language isn’t something everyone is able to take advantage of. As my days roll by I want to choose to appreciate where God has me, even the small things.
Teaching Kindergarten PE could be very monotonous. All they ever want to do is play tag. Freeze Tag, Zombie Tag, Toilet Tag, Turkey Tag, and Santa Tag! But often it is the highlight of my day. Little kids know how to enjoy life. Before Christmas we were playing Santa tag. Just incase you’ve forgotten the rules to Santa tag, because it’s been years since you’ve played, let me give you a quick refresher course. You have two taggers who run around tagging the little kids. Once a kid is tagged he becomes Santa and has to sit down and say, “ho, ho, ho.” To become unsantafied another kid, who isn’t a tagger or a Santa, has to come up to the Santa and sit on his or her lap and say,” Santa I want a … for christmas.” The kids are so enthusiastic about this game they drag me into playing it every time. They always tag me. They’re fast little tikes. “Ho, ho, ho,” I said as one of the little girls rushed up to me and innocently jumped onto my knee. “Santa,” she said with a sweet little smile. “I want Mr. Scott for Christmas!” How can my days not feel special after a moment like this? However, it’s not what I can gain from each day but what I can give. Another time, while I was teaching Kindergarten, I was complimenting each student. “Nice jump,” I said to one. “Great half twist,” I said to another, who I am pretty sure was trying to do a cartwheel (If you ever want to brighten up your day ask a 3-6 year old kid to do a cartwheel). “I love the color orange,” I said to another. The little girl quickly responded, “I love you.” Little moments like these make my days special, but if I had one day to live would I spend every moment playing tag with the Kindergarten class?
Pretty soon today will be gone like yesterday is gone and who knows what tomorrow will bring, if anything. Phil Connors never knew which day would be his last to finally get it right and so by the end of the movie he is doing his all to be the best he could be. Every day we borrow will bring us closer to the end. So why not live life as if we had nothing left to lose? I believe this idea is what brought me down to Guatemala and now I believe it is bringing me back to the US. Guatemala has been the best thing that has ever happened to me (I’ve changed and grown closer to God and made great friends, who could want more?) and I am excited to see what happens next. Because I know the life God has given to me is special and even on my dull days I know it’s worth living because I have a chance to show love to everyone around me. And I am not going to waste my chance to love, because life is a day that won’t last for long.