Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Fairy Tale Ending

The BlogHer August prompts are about fairy tales.

Do you believe it's possible for some people to get that fairy tale ending of happily ever after?

I think it depends on what we think happily ever after looks like. I read a lot of romance novels and the community of romance readers is very big on what we call the HEA (happily ever after). In fact, if there is a not a clear resolution of conflict and at least the implication that the main characters are going to live together in love and harmony, then we're fairly quick to reject it as romance. 

However, HEA covers a multitude of dishes, vacation squabbles, differences of opinion, socks forgotten on the stairs, burned dinner, and general frustration. The implication is that love will cover all these things- if indeed any of these things occur. Many contemporary (setting and writing) romances deal with a variety of more complex issues: learning difficulties, mismatched personalities, chronic illness, children who are more than genial plot devices, temptations, anxiety, and other real life/world issues. 

The next station on that train of thought for me is that if HEA was enough, the gospels would be the end of our written scripture. They would end with an empty tomb, encounters with the risen Christ, and then we would fade to the sunset. Ta-da! And Peter and James and John and Thomas and Mary Magdalene and Johanna and the other Mary all lived happily ever after. 

Except that Acts tells us otherwise. And our experience of church tells us the same. 

There is an HEA of resurrection, promise, and presence, but there is also work. Riding off into the sunset with the risen Jesus only leads to the sunrise and the one after that and the one after that. As it turns out, the fairy tale ending is just the end of the recitation. It's the commencement of the work of living out the togetherness that was the joy of the story. 

So do I believe that it is possible for some people to get that fairy tale ending of happily ever after? 

I do. I really do. But I think the ending is only the beginning- the beginning of the work of the new life, the new love, and the new reality that has been made in the HEA. 

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