“Ohhhhhh, this guy is the one!” I remember thinking in high school. And then we’d break up and I’d think, “That happened for a reason, and this guy is the one.” I wasn’t a completely foolish teenager … I was just a teenager. I’d beat my bangs up higher and buy a new Benetton sweater and move on. Then after high school, life hit me. It’s different for everyone, but at some point our Happily Ever After seems to crumble.
Ten or so years after I was a silly teen, I sat in my mother’s living room watching her breathe. It was shallow and weak. I sat in a little red velvet Victorian chair. It was made for a petite person, and it made me feel like a queen. And I needed to feel strong, because I was falling apart. As my mother was laying there taking her last breaths, I felt my Happily Ever After began to fade away.
Fast forward another ten or so years after my mother’s death, I sat on the floor and cried. My marriage was over. For a good little Baptist girl, the shame was overwhelming. How would I show my face in public after a divorce? How would I explain that marriage should be forever to my little girl? And I mostly cried because I had nowhere to go. No home anymore. The life I thought I had was pulled out from under me like a rug.
My Happily Ever After had ended.
Today I wish I could go back and hug those girls: the teen wrapped up in the idea of love, the bride with a broken marriage, the child losing her momma. I wish I could hold her shoulders and tell her, “Chin up! Your Happily Ever After has just begun.” I didn’t know then what I know now. I wasn’t in a state at those moments to hear it.
So much has changed since those life-altering moments. Now I sit on the sofa of my cozy cottage at the farm. I’m writing this blog by candlelight and iPad light. I’m married to a wonderful, Godly man. He is truly my Prince Charming and is constantly riding me off into the sunset on his tall white steed (read: tiny orange car). I have a beautiful pre-teen girl and a wonderful family that laughs constantly even through struggles. Life is tough, but I feel like I’m living a fairy tale!
For awhile I was afraid to enjoy it. What if Happily Ever After ends again? What if things change? What if I lose any of them?
What if, what if, what if …
And I began to realize a little bit more about Happily Ever After. It is fo’ sho a fairy tale idea, yes, but as a Christian it is my reality. We are merely walking through a forest on the way to Grandmother’s house or galloping up to the castle or skipping down the lane to the dwarf’s cottage. It’s this brief moment of time that we spend here on earth until we reach our truest Happily Ever After.
There will be moments that bring us to our knees … the loss of a child, the death of our parents, the loss of a marriage, a dissolved friendship, loss of a job or lifestyle. These things do not change the end of our story, and when I woke up and truly let that sink in deep down to my boots, my life changed. If I lose my job, it’s not the end of the world. If I lose my spouse to cancer or a heart attack, the story isn’t over.
Will it break our hearts into a million pieces here on earth? Of course! But we don’t have to live in fear, because our destiny is already determined. And God has promised me and you the most beautiful Happily Ever After we could have ever imagined.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” — Revelation 21:4 (NIV)