Happily ever afters

But it is a fairytale

We love our bedtime stories, and on this occassion it was the story of Pocahontas. Didn't realise that whilst some of the events in Pocahontas is based on true stories, the romance is most probably fictional. Anyhow, this is how the ending went.

W: (the book went something like this) John Smith went back to England and Pocahontas didn't get married to him but to another man. But he was always in her heart. The end.

C: Nooooo (feeling cheated), that's sad! It's not a happy ending!

W: Sorry... happy endings only happen in fairy tales, they don't really happen in real life.

C: But this IS a fairytale book!

W: Oh yeah, you are right!

So you do, very occasionally, find unhappy endings in fairytale collections.

Good, but not the best

(quotes from C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)

"If the old fairytale ending 'They lived happily ever' is taken to mean 'They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married', then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships?"

Love ever after, with no element of "life"; maybe not so desirable after all.

"Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling."

I guess in the midst of it, it's hard to think, much less feel, that there is anything more compelling, more important to attend to. But there is of course.

"When we meet someone beautiful and clever and sympathetic, of course we ought, in one sense, to admire and love these good qualities. But is it not very largely in our own choice whether this love shall, or shall not, turn into what we call 'being in love'? No doubt, if our minds are full of novels and plays and sentimental songs, and our bodies full of alcohol we shall turn any love we feel into that kind of love; just as if you have a rut in your path all the rainwater will run into the rut, and if you wear blue spectacles everything you see will turn blue. But that will be our own fault."

Indeed, what a sobering thought.

Regardless of the outcome

Each conversation, each person, each couple, brings their own point of view. Family says, it will never work, your career will be disrupted, you will take forever doing your training, or how are you going to reconcile his family wanting him to be there and your family wanting you to be here. Besides, they say, there are many fish in the ocean (trees in the forest, insert other absurd analogy), you're young and will find a good doctor in the hospital (as if doctors are the only appropriate people for doctors to marry), or he will find some girl and you will never know, and they will get settled there and that would be way easier. Friends generally give positive stories about how they themselves or their friends had long distance relationships from anywhere between a year or two, to eight years or more. Then they got married and lived happy years after. Okay, maybe some couples they knew broke up too.

Then there was this slightly intense auntie at church. I don't actually know her very well. Today we happened to be sitting in the row in front of her. At the end of the service, she sneaked up from behind, placing both hands on my shoulders, and gave it a firm squeeze. I was quite taken aback.

"Pray for each other," she urged. I was a bit confused and not sure why she was saying that, but nodded anyway.

"If it is God's will you will be back together. Even pastor and his wife had a long distance relationship." More nods.

"If it's not, you will find new friends." We looked at each other, and laughed a little.

She pointed her finger from one person to the other and said, "but you two will still be friends, NOT enemies, okay?!?!" She waited for an answer with that really intense stare.

"I will pray for you too," she added, and we thanked her for her encouragement.

I guess I appreciate both the conversations that make you think through realistic issues, and those that tell you, hey this is what worked for us, and there are couples who do end up staying together. But it was memorable too, to have someone neither say you might be fine, you might not, but both are okay outcomes. A reminder also, of what we have said to one another for many years. That if we both have that relationship with God, whichever way this relationship goes, he in his wisdom has a purpose and good plan for each of our lives. Which leads me to think about a question that makes me feel uneasy:

Do we rely on romantic relationships or God as the source of our "happily ever after" - or more appropriately put, our joy in life?


Charis said...

Know you've moved blogs but, just found your blog and read this post. I feel for you lots (perhaps echoes of my own family's sentiments). Thinking and praying for you x

Winnie said...

hey charis! what a nice surprise to have you visit the blog, thanks for your comment & prayers :)


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