During my time at college, my favorite subject was creative writing, and in particular, the genre of the short story. You introduce and develop your characters a little, present a singular issue, then present a resolution all in the space of a few pages. Much like a television show, the resolution needs to wrap up the problem in a tidy little package that leaves no loose threads, no unresolved issues, and of course nothing to be continued.
Like many other people, I like my stories to have a happy or at least positive and complete ending. I want to be able to say like they do in the fairy tales, “and they lived happily ever after”, or at least part of me wants this. When we do get to see the end of the story, its almost always because something tragic ended it all too soon. This was the case with Bree who after celebrating eight weeks clean decided that her life was too difficult and went back to heroin one last time. Her ever after began with an overdose that left her frozen lifeless body in the doorway of a nearby shop. Or the story of Chief, who would go for weeks at a time without a drop of alcohol, then go on a drinking binge that would only end when he passed out in the worst possible places. One time he passed out face down on a sidewalk and before anyone found him, he had severe frostbite on his face, arms and hands. On his last night, however, he passed out in a park frequented by a gang of teens who beat him into a coma from which he would never recover. These are the “ever-afters” that I see, single decisions that end some of the most incredible stories with little or no chance of happiness.We have come to recognize that the kind of work that we do does not lend itself to stories that fit into such neat and tidy packages. As we ride the roller coaster of dependency and addiction with people, we are only able to see the present, always aware that the next plunge into the darkness of counterfeit life is always lurking just ahead. And so we learn to live in and celebrate the here and now, the present victories, the right now of life, rather than look at what the end of the story may hold. We celebrate every new clean date, even if it is only a few days, with true joy and zeal. We relish and support every decision to change, no matter how small, and even when we suspect that the change will only be temporary. But mostly, we learn to trust in the goodness of God, the only one who can know how each and every story ends. We trust that when we love and serve those He brings to us, in His name, that their lives will be changed by the encounter with His love. We trust that God loves them even more than we ever could, and desires for them to be connected to the source of true life, the only way for anyone to have a truly happy ending.
This post was originally published on 05/12/2015 at Revealministry.org as part of a series about shining light in dark places.