Friday, January 29, 2010

Happy Endings

Tuesday Night of this last week I was in a contemplative mood and wrote these words as a facebook status:

"Sometimes happy endings are not happy at all, but they are still endings. This does not mean that they are the wrong endings, or that a better ending slipped by. Perhaps in a broken world, imperfect endings are at times the only way to close a story. They are the only endings that fit. They are the best endings."

My friend Aimee "liked" the status. Later that night she sent me this note [pared down version]:

"Josh! Did you write that quote on your facebook status? It sounds like something CS Lewis would write. This is something I have been thinking about a lot...

I often expect God to give me what I imagine to be perfect endings to things when we are promised that we will have trouble in this world and that we are to take heart because He has overcome the world....

Thanks for the reminder not to store treasure on earth but in heaven!"

Two days later Aimee's life was claimed in a tragic car accident.

Words cannot describe how Aimee's life and death clearly demonstrated this truth. Death is not natural. And when we lose someone so young and vibrant we are violently shaken into facing this reality. We were created to live, and death violates that design. The loss of a loved one reminds us that we live in a very broken world where things are not as they should be. Aimee understood this brokenness. But her hope did not reside in this world.

Anybody who spoke with Aimee for but 5 minutes would know that she had no ambitions for worldly success. She didn't dream about having lots of money, she didn't want a lot of stuff, she didn't want a lot of the other things that we tend to strive after. She didn't pursue ensuring that her life would have a "perfect ending". Aimee knew that while she might be living here, she was in fact a citizen of the Kingdom of God. And her life reflected this. She spoke several times about having an odd feeling that she would one day be a martyr on the mission field. And as she spoke about such possibilities she wore the same infectious smile that she is so well remembered for.

It seems unfair that such a beautiful person's life would have such a broken ending. But while Aimee's story might have come to a broken end, it is a part of a much greater story which is unfolding before us. A story filled with the promises of no tears, pain, or suffering. A story where all that is not fair in this world is made right. The perfect story with the perfect ending, where every broken ending is restored.

The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised!