Sometimes we, as readers, want a happy ending, with all the details tied off in a neat and tidy way. Then we can close the book, sigh with relief, and move on.
Kind of the way we want things in real life.
But I’ve lived long enough to know that life and love can be messy and complicated. While that’s great for fiction—after all, I occasionally like tough endings to chew on and ponder—it’s much harder to ride it out when you’re talking about real people in real situations.
When you’re talking about me, or the people I love.
Have you ever had those days, Seasons or YEARS where you feel a stronger kinship to Job than you ever wanted to? Where you rage against the heavens and shout, “Where is my happy ending?” (A-hem…just trying to give an example, not necessarily my own.) While I may not have railed exactly like that, I’ve come close, ready to lose what little seeds of faith I still had. Thank God THAT wasn’t my ending.
Life circumstances have taught me that a happy ending isn’t necessarily what we think it is. First, let me suggest what it’s not:
- getting what we want
- removal from bad circumstances
- perpetual bliss
The thing about hard times is, we are forced to grow as people. Struggles teach us things we have no other way to learn. They give us a depth of experience to draw on later. (Particularly helpful for us writerly types.) They help us develop empathy through which we are better able to love others.
So I finally figured it out: a happy ending means we have hard times but still come out on the other side with our faith intact and a story to share. Happy endings aren’t pretty endings, but their real and they have a way of revealing what we’re made of.
Simple, yet true.
If you’re hurting today, I offer love and prayers. If you’re struggling, I offer sympathy and understanding. If you feel like you’ve been sucker-punched—hang on, it’s not over!
Friend, I hope you find your happy ending.
What does a happy ending mean to you?