Once upon a time my sister jokingly said that my coping mechanism is to write when I’m feeling depressed and put a positive spin on it and then I feel better. I said that I guessed I should write something that wasn’t positive, just for fun sometime. A friend chimed in and said that she didn’t think I could, and anyway, no one would read it if I posted it- or maybe everyone would comment that they’re praying for me…
This begs the question- is it okay to write without a happy ending? Is it okay to write when the story is hanging there by a thread and no one knows what the ending will be? I sometimes wonder if I would read at all if the books I read took after real life. I seek out the soft, fuzzy books with warm endings as my companions on cold days. I like happy endings. I like happier endings then life often has. Or maybe it’s all perspective? After all, one can twist anything into happiness and find morals around every corner. Right? But in real life, sometimes you’re on the losing team. In books, the main character walks away with her life intact and the man she loves by her side, but in real life we’re all the main character. In real life, that sideline character who dies or is permanently disfigured could be any one of us, and then what?
Is there grace for these moments? Is there grace for the times when you did something incredibly stupid that nobody in a book would ever do? Is there any grace for a person lying in a hospital bed dying without a faithful lover by their side or a child to hold their hand?
In books, you can predict what’s coming next. When people marry the wrong person, and that person makes them miserable, the wrong person conveniently dies, and they marry the person they loved all along anyway… In real life, you would probably end up either being the wrong person or else the main character would probably realize that love isn’t quite as inevitable as they once thought and make a fine life with the “wrong person.” Actually, that might be happier, anyway. Maybe real life is better after all.
Maybe I read the wrong books, I’m all of a sudden thinking. Still, it cannot be argued that when we begin expecting happy endings, we will one day come face to face with the thought that not every moment is happy. And then what?
Lately I’ve become very attached to a certain song. It’s called “Living in the Rhythm of Grace.” My sister is getting tired of it. I’m still trying to find the rhythm though. I listened to it three times when I was driving home from work one day this week, and about five times a day ever since.
What does it mean to live in the rhythm of grace? I wish I knew better. “Because of salvation there’s no condemnation like the old days…” it says… “Everything fell into place, now I’m living in the rhythm, living in the rhythm of grace…”
I feel like that has the answer to my question somehow. The question to how one lives without happy endings, how to make sense of messy life where things aren’t predictable, and people die when you still need them, and heroes don’t come along and smooth out your pathway before you.
The answer has something to do with a grace that redeems and with God’s magnificent love and with the blood of Jesus.
I’m still working, though, on finding a way to live in that rhythm. To live happy and rested and at peace even with crazy, unscripted life zinging all around me. I’m learning, but I often become convinced that I haven’t mastered the art yet. So… there is not a conclusive ending to this story yet. It will have to end with a question that is not fully answered in my life. How does one not just accept God’s grace, but also live in that rhythm? If someone has the moral tied up in a nice bow, please present it to me… Otherwise, I guess you can pray for me…