Right now I’m experiencing some difficulty with the series of events we call life. I don’t make a case that what I’m experiencing is the worst in the world b/c I’m super aware that things could be much worse. All that said, my pain is real…and I will heal. How do I know I'll heal...because I believe in fairytales.
As adults with plenty of accomplishments and pains under our belts, we’ve pretty much cast aside the notion of fairytales for kids as a way to teach morals/values and/or to inject a belief in optimism for their futures. Perhaps I’m clingy, but I’ve held on to the idea of a “happily ever after” from the stories I learned as a child.
I think the reason why many adults tend to let go of the “happily ever after” is because life doesn’t deal cards that lend itself to that thinking. People die, people get sick, we lose jobs, we lose friends, we lose relationships, we lose trust, we experience hurt and pain on many levels. Where is the “happily ever after” in that? Well…it’s not there…that’s the bad stuff that just hurts about life, and it can take years, therapy, prayer and whatever healing agent needed to get us through those times.
More often than not, our inability to see that we can and will heal leads us to thinking that fairytlales are a joke, and there is no happy ending. As someone who teaches literature plot structure to 4th graders I encourage you to stay with me as I go on about the series of events in fairytales, which parallels life hardships and can lead to a happily ever after.
In fairytlales, BAD STUFF HAPPENS! Cinderella is verbally and emotionally abused by her family, Hansel is literally trapped in an oven awaiting for his doom and Gretel is forced to become a slave. Snow White is poisoned by a jealous enemy and left to die. Those are the conflicts in the story, which intensify as suspense is built through the rising action and then lead to the climax, where the characters are directly confronted with their problems. The plot structures which ensue after the climax are falling action and resolution. Typically in fairytales, the falling action , which are the events that happen after the climax, carry out in a way that the character(s) continue to press through their hardship through strength or wit or some bought of good luck/force come in and allow them to overcome their obstacle. After the falling action comes their resolution, the problem is gone and they live happily ever after.
My point in going on about the structure of fairytales is that they resemble our life experiences. A fairytale mindset is not one of fantasy bliss and no hardship, it’s one that acknowledges that hardship comes, and some kind of way, you manage to get through those hard times unto a resolution. Sometimes we get through relying on strength, courage and wisdom. Other times we get through our difficulties by nothing else than the love and grace of the divine. It can take time, but we get there.
I use my parents as a lens for happily ever after…especially since on many levels I want what they have in their relationship. They have been married for 34 years! I don’t think for one second, they will tell you their marriage has been easy. It has had obstacles, hard moments and I’m sure times where they thought they may not make it. The fairytale comes in though because when it’s all said and done, they both find a way to continue their love. They both find a way to get through financial, emotional, physical and professional hardship. Whether it’s through their own strength and wit, or by the love of God – they continue.
Please be encouraged that if you're going through a rough patch, you can and will get through it! And I have to take my own advice b/c I know I’m feeling like I’m going through something that will be very hard to heal from. You can and will smile again, and when you look back at what you’ve gone through, feel as though you’ll live happily ever after.