I'm a little obsessed with happy endings.
Before I see a movie, I have to know how it ends. I ask my friends for spoilers and scroll to the end of Netflix films to check that all the main characters are smiling. It's not enough for a plot to have a happy ending... I prefer that the majority of the plot be emotionally stable and uplifting.
Most plots don't work that way, though, so I find myself skipping entire chapters of books or fast-fowarding through the sad bits of my favourite movies. The reason for this idiosyncrasy is that I don't like to be frustrated. And who does? Whether you are watching it, reading it, or experiencing it, a sad story is purely unsatisfying without a spectacularly restorative ending.
Nonetheless, most of my friends agree that spoilers rob them of a cathartic, emotional journey. I agree that there is truth to that. Once you know how something ends, its story can't elicit the same apprehension as if you were left unaware of its outcome.
Why do we worry how our stories will end?
I am tempted to be concerned, at the moment, by things that affect my future. I've just moved to a new city and completed the first two weeks of my job. I'm also taking finals for my last quarter of college. It is commonplace to worry about such things, but is it necessary? "Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" (Matthew chapter 6 verse 27, NIV)
Certainly, it is possible to live free from worry and frustration on the road to our happy endings. I am sure of it. Since I've moved to this city, I've experienced one form or another of God's provision every day.
The room I rent has a bed large enough to accommodate my 6' tall frame. It seems I keep meeting people who know my old church and my old friends, despite being hundreds of miles away. Just this morning I met someone familiar with my last church and with whom I'll audition for a worship team.
I've just come out of a heartbreaking season strewn with many forms of injustices, but I have never felt more free or unburdened in my heart. Today may not hold every happy ending I desire, but it is certainly full of God's presence and His promises.
It has been my greatest joy lately to meditate on God's goodness, because it is greater than any failure, disappointment, or letdown. Since God is such a good provider for our needs, I find it impossible to justify ever worrying. In fact, in light of His love, I can only give thanks to Him for the gift of peace He's offered, the love poured out, the mercy extended and the provisions made for our benefit.
One Thanksgiving, my family wrote in pen on a tablecloth all the things we were most grateful for. I made an extensive list and was, for years afterwards, mocked for it. But such lists are necessary, because they draw our attention away from the sadder points in a story and towards the silver linings.
I am grateful to have a satisfyingly novel job, money to pay my bills, opportunities to make new friends, and – most of all – the goodness of God. When I move with God – even along arduous roads – the journey remains constantly inspiring, even if uncertain.
No matter what happens to my bank account, my body, my community, or anything I love, God remains true to His word. Nothing and no one can undermine the hope He offers. That is, after all, what happy endings are made of.
Grace lives in California, high in the Sierra Nevada mountains. She is constantly inspired by the beauty around her. She loves to hike, fish, ski, and take long walks. She is passionate about worship and seeing God's love lived out through her community.
Grace Wood's articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/grace-wood.html