ashes-to-beautyI’ve always loved fairy tales and happy endings. So much so, that I wrote one and Man of My Dreams illustrated it! (But more about that later)

But I have to admit, during my teenage angst, I found myself drawn to movies like A Star is Born with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson or Lady Sings the Blues with Diana Ross. Or anyone remember the Romeo and Juliet movie from 1968? The star crossed lovers, the loss, the pain, the tragedy of life all spoke loudly to a mixed up rebellious teenager that I wasn’t the only one with angst and trying to figure out the deeper meaning of life.

The 60’s and 70’s were tumultuous times. My first memory of a U.S. President was the Kennedy assassination in 1963. The picture of John John saluting his father during the funeral procession is seared into our collective memory and as young as I was, I have a story about “where I was when….”jfkjr_salutes

 

Tragedy followed tragedy from the Manson murders and Son of Sam to Robert Kennedy being gunned down and Martin Luther King who had given so many hope, gone in a moment from a sniper’s bullet.

 

Walter Cronkite solemnly reported the anti-war protests on college campuses, women of all ages marching for liberation and the passage of Roe v Wade. A nightly tally of death from the war in Viet Nam and pictures of the Civil Rights movement flickered in black and white on the 6 o’clock news. Violence flooded the streets according to the news.vietnam-war-protest

For the most part, we were protected in small town Kansas from the world “out there.” Although some in my small town went to Viet Nam and returned changed or returned in a flag draped coffin leaving grieving friends and family.

Wholesome teens went off to college and came home long haired and angry. The whole world, it seemed, was filled with bloodshed and anger.

The rise of the Beatles and the death of Elvis. The “death” of the Beatles and the rise of Led Zeppelin.

That was the soundtrack of my coming of age.

The Godfather and Apocalypse Now gave way to Jaws and Star Wars and Rocky. Not love story happy endings, but endings with hope and good overcoming “evil” in the challenges of life.

In movie life, though removed from the pain upon the screen, I could learn about it from afar. But once out of the cocoon of small town life, I learned that real life had real pain—much more so than on the silver screen when bad things happen to good people.

Maybe I changed or maybe the world changed, and with it the movie commentary on it, but I gravitated toward movies with happy endings. By then I was graduating from nursing school and I saw enough sorrow in real life to not want to see it on the big screen.

My mom is a glass-is-half-full person and so am I.

So I “look on the bright side” and want the fairy tale whether it be a love story or a life story.

Fairy tales are sometimes written off as too simplistic. Not realistic, some would argue. “There are no happy endings!” they growl.

But I love this quote from Hans Christian Anderson who wrote over 30 of the fairytales we remember from childhood—“Every man’s life is a fairytale written by God’s fingers.”

“Every man’s life is a fairytale written by God’s fingers.”

Hans Christian Anderson

Isn’t that beautiful? That God wrote your life with His own fingers?

And if you know God, your life has a happy ending!

Oh, that’s not to say this life doesn’t have troubles. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.” (Notice He didn’t say you might? Nope! He said you WILL!)

But the whole verse says this—“I have told you these things, so that in Me, you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

The world is fallen. It is a mess in so many ways.

The recent news with protests and violence and the hatred of American soldiers and the killing of the men and women who are sworn to protect us as the police of our cities and towns floods me with memories of my youth.protest

How did we get back here when we had come so far? Didn’t we learn anything? (And I refuse to believe that there was still wholesale racism and recent events have just exposed it. Have I seen racism? Yes. But rarely. But if you stir up discord and mistrust long enough, you will find what you are looking for.)

That is a whole other blog post, but I long for the reassuring gaze of Walter Cronkite reporting the facts to us that might be awful, but his very demeanor reassured us that all would be well, even when it didn’t seem like it.

Well, we don’t have Walter Cronkite (and don’t even get me started about the current state of the media as far as reporting the news!) but we still have Jesus.

And He says in Him, we have peace. This world is full of trouble, but in the middle of the troubled times, He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. He is the friend who sticks closer than a brother. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He says He gives the peace that passes all understanding and in these troubled times, don’t we need that?

Take heart! Evil will be vanquished in the end. Jesus has overcome the world!

And so can we, because He has written our story with the happy ending with His own fingers. Each of us bears the Imago Dei—the image of God.imago-dei

I like to think of it that when He formed us in the womb, He left His fingerprints upon us as He formed us in His image. baby-in-womb

He has chosen us as His beloved. He asks that we “choose Him back” by accepting the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

Jesus, who bore our sin and our shame so that we don’t have to.

Jesus, who died a brutal, criminal’s death in our place.

Jesus, who welcomes us into the family of God where death has no sting.

Jesus, who loves us so much He laid down His life for us.
If that isn’t living Happily Ever After, I don’t know what is!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

 

You might be interested in the “fairytale” based on truth that I wrote and Man of my Dreams illustrated. It’s called Ashes to Beauty, the Real Cinderella Story. It is written like a children’s story, but the truths are timeless. I call it a Fairytale for Girls of All Ages. It is available by contacting me, at The Quincy Gallery here in Saint Francis, or through Amazon or Barnes and Noble. It’s a great gift for yourself or your favorite girl! ashes-to-beauty