Big Q: If you could relive one day of your life, what day would you choose?

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CHICAGO, IL (November 12, 2015) — The hope of spring in the midst of winter’s long, cold days causes some to anticipate Groundhog Day in February—and that brings to mind Bill Murray’s inimitable performance in the eponymous 1993 film where he is forced to relive the same day over and over again. Murray plays weatherman Phil Connors, who is sent to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the emergence of the groundhog from its hole to predict how many days of winter are left. When he and his film crew get stuck in a blizzard that he failed to predict, Phil finds himself trapped in a time warp.

The idea of repeating one day over and over has the Companion wondering, if you could choose to relive one day of your life, what day you choose? Would it be a child’s wedding day, an idyllic vacation, a visit with a loved one who is no longer living? Perhaps, like Phil Connors, it would be a “do over,” a chance to get things right this time. If you had to (or could) relive one day of your life, what day would you choose and why?

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  1. The day I would choose to live again happened in the not so very distant past. It was an important day for me as a Christian and as a human being…a day that I saw through Jesus lenses. I was beginning a new aspect of my clinical internship as a therapist and it was my first day in a drop-in center, which catered to homeless, Chicago youth, 16-24 years old. Many identified as LGBTQ and were homeless because they had been kicked out of their homes because of how they identified sexually. *I was uncomfortable.* I have travelled far in my journey of faith, having grown up quite conservative; and while the conversations in my life around human sexuality have been fairly active and intentional over the past 14 years or so, I recognized that I still had a good amount of internal reactivity going on as I stepped into the drop-in center that day. One client in particular, a MTF transgender woman was especially rough around the edges and it was obvious that she was going to work hard to keep this new therapist (me) far from her. I felt ok about that and was happy to sit across the room and watch while she removed her nail polish. Mission accomplished, she left that task and moved on to being social with other youth at the facility…but as time passed, I remained in my own head wondering how I might connect with her. I looked at the polish she had left behind and wondered, “maybe I could offer to polish her nails.” And immediately, the tired, worn out (but still so relevant) phrase, “what would Jesus do?” popped into my mind. There’s more to that story, but know that I went home a changed person that day. Why had I been turning away for so long? Fear? Indifference? Both and more? There was so much to hold emotionally…the pain of the youth, my own pain at witnessing and understanding what burdens they were carrying, and also understanding that I was seeing this population through different lenses. Human lenses? No, I don’t think so. They were Jesus lenses, and I’d love to look through them again the way I did that day.

  2. As I thought about this question I had some of the larger moments of my life pop into my head. My wedding, the birth of my 3rd child, the day before my father died… But, the day I would like to return to would be the day I was ordained into Word and sacrament. That day was so overwhelming and I would love to have the opportunity to relive that day from many different angles. The day was a blur and I don’t even have many photos of the day. I woke that morning, 7 weeks pregnant and bleeding heavily. My son was in the hospital after having an asthma attack the night before. I also had out of town guest arriving just for the ordination service. I could not fully experience any one emotion that day because all the emotions were too much, so I became numb instead and just went through the motions of the day. If I could relive that day many times I would experience that day through each emotion I wish I could have experienced that day.

  3. For me it would be the day I chose not to skip Saturday morning confirmation class when I was 13 in late 1961 or early 1962. That was the day I sat down to the left of our ECC minister in the large circle of students, as he shuffled his papers in preparation for the class to begin. A classmate in the group threw a paper airplane which landed between my feet. I bent down to pick it up and to hand it to the minister. As I came up in my chair, he swung his fist in a tremendous left hook to the back of my head which lofted me into the air and landed me sprawling in the center of the room.

    The minister told the class he was going to his office to get himself together; I went into the hall to talk to my brother, a classmate. We decided not to tell our parents…out of fear that it would disrupt our household even further. You see, my older sister was pregnant out of wedlock, and the minister who hit me was haranguing my parents to force my sister to stand in front of the congregation and publically apologize for her sin. My parents refused his demand. I’ve always believed that that his blow to my head was displaced anger…for I had done nothing.

    He never apologized. And I could never forgive him. That’s the day I wish I could live over.

    1. I’m sorry for the way your minister treated you that day. I grew up believing that ministers were almost God. As I have grown up and gotten to know them personally rather than as a child who was taught that adults were always right, I have learned that they are really no different than me except that they have more Bible training than me. Sometimes they make poor decisions just like me. Sometimes their pride gets in the way of apologizing when they have wronged another just like mine does. Sometimes I have to accept their humaness and remind myself that they, too, are God’s creation and I have to cut them some slack. I hope by now you have been able to forgive him, for your sake. And I do hope that even though he never apologized to you, that he never treated another person like he treated you. Hopefully he became kinder and more compassionate after that.

  4. Sounds obvious, but my wedding day. I was over 40 and was so “to the moon and beyond” happy! But as often happens, a few things happened I would avoid if I could do it over again (one word: photographer!). But to be able to relive that level of joy would be wonderful!

  5. The day my second son, Emmett, was born. Because of the wonder of it all. I was working at North Park, we had him at Swedish Covenant (although we lived in Elgin), his older brother Haydon was so excited, he could barely stand it. Cathy had her sister in the birthing room with us, and family gathered waiting for the exciting news. It was a day of focus, purpose, and love – a great day.

  6. If I could live one day of my life over again it would be the day my mother died in a car accident. That day she did not come home. If I had known that she was going home to the Lord that day, I would have told her that I loved her and appreciated her more. But I was a young man of 20 and I didn’t realize the importance of my mother in my life.

  7. If I could live one day of my life over again, it would be the day I was baptized. I was about six weeks old, and the baptism took place at home, not at church. I of course have no memory of that day, and can only go by what my parents told me about it. If I could relive that day, I’d get a chance to experience what actually happened. I’ve never questioned being baptized as a baby, and I’m not trying to get a discussion started about infant baptism – I believe God’s grace for me was at work in that moment. But if I could relive that day, and hopefully be able to use the understanding of an adult, I’d see who it was who baptized me (I have no idea what his name was), and hear my parents and relatives talk about what they wanted for me. It would be wonderful to get in on all that!

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