A Happy Ending Isn’t the Whole Story

April 2, 2021  •   Tracy Earl Welliver

Purple and white clouds behind single cross

“Is there a happy ending?”

When my kids were young, we never made it past the first whiff of any narrative tension before I got this question. As soon as whatever princess or furry woodland animal who was the hero of the story got into any small scrape, they wanted that reassurance, “Is there a happy ending?”

I can’t say I blame them. Don’t we all feel that way sometimes? We enter into a relationship with someone or some situation, and we just want to protect ourselves. We want to know it’s not going to go badly — or, if it does, that we will be able to come back from it. It’s a human instinct, a reflex. Our inclination to protect ourselves makes it so that we sometimes want to press fast-forward on the bad stuff and skip straight ahead to the happily-ever-after.

Easter is the ultimate happy ending. It’s the day of miracles. The day when all the stones roll away and all the sins are forgiven. It’s the day that puts everything right.

But if we learned anything from this week — from the Passion and death of the Lord — it’s that we can’t press fast-forward on the hardships of life. That tension, that loss, that fear — it’s crucial, isn’t it? As Catholics, we are who we are because of Easter. But Easter doesn’t happen without Good Friday.

So, does the story of salvation have a happy ending? We know it does. But we also remember that the ending isn’t all that matters.

— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

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