Why do we like a story to end “happily ever after”? Is it because we like neat, tied-in-a-bow endings, or is it a victory to ease our pain for all those stories that we can’t fix?
This weekend, we went to a movie that didn’t end the way we might have liked. The main character, a shady protagonist at best, still had a hole. He didn’t get the girl. The girl ended up hurt. I won’t tell you the name so as not to spoil it for you, but it was one of those movies where everyone sat there for a while at the end. Did we want more? Or did we want different? I’m not sure, but I walked away playing out the other scenarios of endings and I decided the writer was right. It needed to end realistically, and we got a hard reality at the end. It was finished—just not all neat and pretty.
I’m sitting here wondering this evening about those similar places in our lives that don’t wrap up as neatly as we’d like. You know—the ones that we replay over and over in our heads. What could we have done different? Where did we fail? But a better question to ask might be: Have we really failed? Just because something doesn’t turn out the way we think it should, does that make it wrong? Have we factored in that God’s Hand was on the situation and somehow, this is the way He allowed it? I believe one day we are going to have new eyes to see and it will all make sense. But our human rationale doesn’t allow us to understand why things are the way they are. Something bigger, something eternal often is at stake. God may have seen the same story as a rousing success because it fitted us more for eternity. Was pride broken? Did we learn to lean into His provision better? Did we pray with desperation, knowing He is the only One to whom we could turn? Did we store up eternal treasures at the expense of something very temporal?
When all doesn’t end the way we think it should, it seems to help to look at what did go right. And in God’s economy, nothing is wasted. So, even the temporary failures can produce lasting benefit. Even a bad day is wholly good because God can turn it around as easily as He can turn around a life. It’s only a waste if we don’t give God access to our hearts to work His good. A good life is made up of a lot of bad days that got used for good. So ultimately, eternally speaking, maybe “happily ever after” is realistic.
Great post, wish I wouldn’t question so often.
I remember it well, Virginia. That was a really good day. And we sang thiat song thinking of our boys, my girls, and our prayers for their brilliant futures. Life looks a little different, but I wouldn’t change a thing if it meant I drew a little closer to Christ because of it. I pray for your family often Virginia. Love ya.
Yes, indeedy—–your writing sears my soul. And I have to jump in on the crowd that “prayed in desperation knowing He is the only one…” Still doing so. 🙂 And, Joan’s song will forever remind me of you! I remember a fall day about 8 or 9 years ago. We drove out to your future farm, with that song blasting. It just is THE best! Hugs to you…
Sweet friend, I believe I detect some Jennifer Kennedy Dean thinking in your writing..I believe you have just so eloquently written an explanation of what she teaches so beautifully in her book. You are so right…you wrote the truth. When I read it in her book, I thought…this is the truth. You’ve let it be implanted in your heart and then you wrote it out so well….helped me to see it all over again and nailed it into my feeble brain. Bless you…may He meet you today and may your day be full of His presence. Hugging you thru cyber space….love you, Mary Lou
I believe you do hear an overtone of Jennifer Kennedy Dean. Her study has changed my perspective. I want to do like you did and go back through it in more detail. Sending hugs right back to you, Mary Lou!
*For those of you who aren’t familiar with Jennifer Kennedy Dean’s A Praying Life”, it is well worth your time for a Bible study.