The Problem with Happy Endings

I was just reading a kids devotional to see if it was one I might want to read to N.

The first day of the devotional was sad.

It was about man being separated from God. I was tempted to reject the book.

“I don’t want to tell N he is separated from God! ….I mean, yeah, we were, but we aren’t anymore! That’s what matters! That’s the good news!”

The last couple months have been really hard for us at the Hagen house. We’ve had bad news after bad news … after bad news. We’ve been staying pretty positive and knowing God holds our future so that means good things, but life feels heavy right now and it’s giving us backaches.

I keep trying to skip to my Happy Ending, but I keep finding myself stuck in–what J, I and Brene Brown lovingly refer to as–Act Two

Every time I skip to Happy Ending… Act Two slaps me in the face and says, “Haha! Not yet you don’t!”

It sucks.

Act Two sucks.

Whenever we talk to our friends or family about what’s going on, they try to skip to our Happy Ending, too.

“I’m sure there’s a perfect place for you to live within your price range!”
“I’m sure you’ll find just the right job!”
“I’m sure the doctors will know just what to do!”

Et Voila! Happy Ending.

At least, they’re happy. They feel comforted knowing they tapped us with their magic fairy wand and that someday there will be a Happy Ending for us. They can imagine the end, so they don’t have to sit through the middle with us. I even did this to a dear friend just last week. I skipped right over her difficult middle and assured her: Happy Ending.

Photo by Death to Stock Photo by Death to Stock

I think this is also why I like movies instead of TV shows.

TV Shows make me wait until the next week (and the next week and the next week) to finally have that settled Happy Ending feeling.

Or I can sit down, watch a movie, and have my Happy Ending within two hours flat.

So here I am, sitting smack in the middle of my very-not-happy-middle wondering why life didn’t prepare me for this.

My friends prepared me for magic wands, movies prepared me for two hours flat.

And just like that, I’m drawn in to this kids devotional thinking:

Maybe N doesn’t need to know the Happy Ending on day one. Jesus and his disciples had three excruciating days of decidedly not Happy Ending.

Maybe N will be okay if he’s sad for a whole day.

Maybe I can sit and be sad with him.

Maybe that will be better preparation for real life than telling him his Happy Ending is just around the corner.



One thought on “The Problem with Happy Endings

  1. Tiffany Chu says:

    I just re-read this this morning, and felt so encouraged. It’s too easy to want to skip ahead to that "happy ending," but I’ve been realizing more and more that sometimes it’s ok to just be in "Act Two." Maybe it’s even better sometimes, to allow ourselves to be sad for a time and validating those very real emotions, not rushing the process of healing. Thank you for blessing me with your writing today.


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