I was amazed this week to discover a connection between two seemingly opposite films: Groundhog Day and Enchanted April.
I know. But hear me out.
Lately I’ve noticed how often I see my life through a certain lens. In that lens I am playing out the same stories over and over. I feel stuck in repeating narratives. This is what always happens to me. I am never the girl chosen. No one sees me. I have begun to question those narratives and desire to see my life through the lens of the true narrative: that I am the Lord’s. He sees me, knows me, and delights in me.
It was while musing over these ideas that the movie Groundhog Day came to mind. Bill Murray’s character is stuck in the same day, over and over and over again. Hilarity ensues. I laughed as I made the connection, seeing how in a small way, the repeating narratives in my life have entrapped me in my own Groundhog Day situation. In the past I have rolled over and just accepted these narratives, but this year there have been shifts in my heart. I want to believe God’s narrative in a deeper way. I no longer want to just roll over and accept this lens as my fate. As a result, these narratives have been battling each other. One day God’s narrative is triumphant, while other days my negative story is the victor. This week especially has been one where the battle feels especially palpable.
This is where Enchanted April enters the story. This lovely film follows four British women who seek out a magical spring in Italy. While they are all trying to avoid another dreary April in England, their real desire is to escape the dreary stories they are living out. Except, you cannot escape your own story, no matter how hard you try. But oh, it’s so tempting to try to escape. Their plans are foiled, as all plans must be in a good story, when everything they tried to escape shows up at the villa. Their stories are widened and each woman comes alive in her own unique way. Italian villas have a way of doing that, don’t they?
So, the answer isn’t to escape the narratives we find ourselves in. Maybe you can do that if you have infinite resources, but even then, there is always a person, place, or thing to bring us back to reality. Rather, the goal is to let our lens be expanded. To acknowledge the painful aspect of our individual stories, while also holding the fact that there is so much more happening in our midst. This place of tension is intersected by trust. Can I trust that God has me in a larger story? Can I trust that He has good for me? Can I trust that His good really is good?
I must admit, the battle still continues within me. However, I hope that in the frontlines what emerges is a growing trust. I think it is.
(Note: I was saddened to hear of the passing of Harold Ramis, director of Groundhog Day. This was actually written before his death, but I admire his ability to use comedy to speak truth, in this film in particular.)