Skip to the End
I’m an unusual reader. After starting a novel, I stop part-way through and skip ahead to the last chapter. The point at which I fast-forward varies. Usually, it’s when conflict arises and tension builds.
I am content to return to the place where I stopped reading and allow the story to unfold – if all ends well. The book doesn’t have to end “happily ever after,” but it does need to end fairly. Wrongs must be righted, debts paid and compromises achieved. If things aren’t resolved to my satisfaction, I tend to stop reading and choose another book. After all, I am reading for pleasure, briefly escaping the problems of my life.
My quirky reading habits puzzle my husband. “If you’re enjoying the book, why not keep reading straight through to the end?” he once asked. “I get nervous for the characters.” I replied. “I can endure their difficulties with them if I know they will be all right in the end.” Each time he sees me mark my place and peek at the final pages of a book, he smiles and shakes his head.
When I’m faced with a difficult situation, I wish that life was like a book. Then, I could look ahead to see how things turn out for myself and others who are involved. Knowing that a good resolution is pending would be reassuring. But what if I discovered a bad conclusion? Could I take action to create a better ending?
If I don’t like the way my life story is progressing, I can add good choices, a positive attitude, and concern for others to the plot. All of these elements increase the likelihood of a better ending. Chances are, my troubles won’t reach a magical, “happily ever after” conclusion. But there’s every reason to believe that problems can be solved with fairness, justice, and compassion for all concerned.
I can’t put a bookmark in the present and peek into the future. But faith in God and humankind assures me that things will turn out all right. Perhaps a truly happy ending lies ahead.
“For I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)