HAPPILY EVER AFTER

image courtesy of photobucket.com

image courtesy of photobucket.com

I believe in happily ever after. I recall as a kid being awestruck in the old theaters after devouring a movie mentally like it was a piece of fine chocolate. I remember walking back outside into reality, my mind paddling to catch up after being suspended in the warp when time stood still.

Even after the gut punches of the reality in this fallen world as kids, many of us still cling to some type of romantic notions. My guess is that it isn’t a precious few of us that got worn down along life’s journey. The rugged paths that beset all of us have a way of grinding us down, the jagged edges broken off and sanded smooth, thin like the perfect stone for skipping across the glassy pond into eternity.

Like Paul in his letter to the Corinthians, most of us have put our childish ways behind us. For some, those ways are so far removed that not even the slightest softer notions cross our minds anymore.

There are a couple different types of “Romantics”. One of them would lean toward terms like “gentle” and “tender”. The folks born in the generations closest to “The Greatest Generation” I think struggle to be described as gentle and tender. Passionate, strong, and disciplined yes, but usually they always seem best described as “tough as nails”.

I was raised in a blue-collar family with ties to a sharecropping-hand-cotton pickers clan. We grew up in a violent world set in the late sixties when it was all about survival of the fittest, long before any of us ever heard of the God forsaken theory.

It seemed like back then romantic happened in books and movies. Gentle and tender were reserved for newborn babies, puppies, and kittens, but that didn’t mean we didn’t have love.

I ponder these days of political correctness and question a “love” that can’t say no to kids. I wonder if we’re really doing the next generation any favors at all. Our generation didn’t see the tough love of our raisin’ as gentle or romantic.

Sometimes it takes several decades stacked like dominoes to get a glimpse over the wise side of this life’s spiritual fence.

In that tough love, we learned self-discipline through discipline. We were demanded to show respect… that’s how we learned self-respect. Character was insisted upon in our lives and sometimes reinforced with a belt.

We stumbled through childhood and adolescence and got to use those Biblical character traits in real life. We were tested, and although we failed more than we wanted to, by and large, we showed our loved ones and this world real love in action. True romance in these character scenarios bring God honor and stiffen the spines of the weaker among us.

The other definition of “romantic” is “an idealized view of reality”. While I fight to be gentle and tender, I think this meaning of romantic describes every Christian. We know this fallen world has a vast cast of antagonists, but we’re the gifted protagonists that know our roles and lives in these soul cages.

True Love keeps and sustains us and the ultimate Happily Ever After is waiting for us on the other side.

See there. Who said we’re not romantics?