I believe in happy endings – you know, the part in books where everyone lives happily ever after. But life, ah yes, life, keeps getting in the way. You know, those days when you can’t quite pay all of your bills, or you are in an accident, or you lose your job, or cancer kills your dog, then your cat, then your beloved husband.
Our pop culture tries to tell us that the happy endings will come if we buy that new house, get that sexy car, lose a few pounds, eat healthy, take that trip, achieve that next promotion, find the new lover. So we try for all of that. And some, a very few, get all those things and yet life, you know, those ugly things, still happen. And, sometimes, in candid moments, these ‘golden’ people will confess that they are empty inside.
So, just what is this happy ending we all yearn for?
For me, struggling in the day to day many years ago (definitely not losing the few pounds, or being able to afford that next something, or having the prince charming) something happened. In despair, I started yelling at God. Where are you, what happened, what did I do wrong, where is my happily ever after? And then I said, God, help me. And she did.
Not in a bolt of lightning, or Prince Charming stepping into my life. God, this mysterious spirit, this essence of life that we keep trying to pour into a mold, fit inside a church, find names for the unknowable; yes, it was this God whose spirit comforted me, who wrapped her essence around me and who gradually is teaching me, slowly, sometimes painfully, about forgiveness, about happy endings, about putting one foot in front of the other, and has helped me to find peace in my heart of hearts, what we might call, soul.
I have had enough sorrow in life for several life times. The mother who was mentally ill, those few pounds that refuse to leave my body, divorce, no money, no career, sick children, the death of a child, my parents, friends, and yes, the death of a husband.
And yet, even on those yucky days when nothing is going well, I know a peace within; blessings abound. As the 23rd Psalm says, “God has restored my soul… Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for You are with me.”
I found that God (whether he or she) is within me and all around me. I can’t define for someone else what that is – God is too big for definitions – but I think, sometimes, I am able to reflect that peace to others in lending a hand, sharing a tear, giving (or receiving) a hug, in living life – however messy it is in the day to day.
I remember one of my favorite Sunday School songs – Jesus says (I think it comes from Matthew): “I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my knock, and will open the door, I will come in”. Thankfully, I heard that knock, and opened the door, warily and distrustful at first, to a very messy life, (still messy sometimes), and God did come in.
So, today, when my soul aches over foolish people at war, poverty, injustice, people who hurt others and the disappointments in life; today, this very day, – I heard a bird sing, I comforted a friend, I slept in a warm bed, I extended a kind word, I laughed and someone laughed with me, I touched someone with my music.
Through hard work, disappointments, death of loved ones, changes and the ying and yang of life, it is through the Grace, Love and Forgiveness of the Spirit, the Almighty, the Holy One, that I looked within and chose peace and happily ever after.
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