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Happy endings?

Posted by Simon Parke, 24 February 2020, 9.13am

Do happy endings exist?

There was once a young woman called Jeanette. She was taking her driving test, after failing the first time. When she passed the test, her friends and family were delighted.

‘Great news about you passing your driving test!’ they declared.

‘Could be good news, could be bad news,’ she replied, refusing to predict, staying in the present.

A few months later, while driving her new car, Jeanette had an accident and hurt her shoulder quite badly. She could barely walk and her friends and family were horrified.

‘Terrible news about the accident and shoulder injury,’ they declared.

‘Could be bad news, could be good news,’ replied Jeanette, refusing to predict, staying in the present.

On the path of recovery, Jeanette’s physiotherapist was called John. They got on very well and later that year got engaged. Jeanette’s family and friends were absolutely delighted for her.

‘Wonderful news about you getting engaged, Jeanette!’ they declared.

‘Could be good news, could be bad news,’ she replied, refusing to predict, staying in the present.

In the coming months, Jeanette discovered that two of John’s family were very hostile towards her, which made life difficult. When her friends and family heard about this, they were absolutely furious.

‘Terrible news about John’s awful family!’ they declared.

‘Could be bad news, could be good news,’ replied Jeanette, refusing to predict, staying in the present.

I could go on but maybe that’s enough; but was that a happy ending?

People do insist on elation or despair; but maybe neither is true; for happy endings are more truthfully called ‘uncertain beginnings’.

A happy ending is never an end - and always a beginning. It is to start again after what has been, life after struggle, peace after pain.

But it’s a fragile birth with uncertainty ahead.

We put down the child’s story book with the words ‘And they all lived happily ever after.’

But beyond Disney, no one lives happily ever after; issues arise, things crumble, life is difficult, good news, bad news…‘the sorryness under the grandest, and the grandeur under the sorriest of things’, as Thomas Hardy put it.

So no happy ever after….but grandeur as we inhabit this adventure, for our brief lease of time; and each day touch the flame within, starting again, always starting again -

...this is my happy ending.

 
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