'Happily ever after'

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

Is there a "happily ever after" for Joe Millionaire or for Trista, the Bachelorette? Is everlasting joy just an illusive fairy tale, or a real possibility?

We would love to think that happy endings mean lasting joy and that the lovers will walk blissfully into the sunset of life.

But happy endings begin with happy "nows." They appear in attitudes and daily choices that are lasting and valuable. We each have opportunities every day to improve our tomorrows by improving our nows. With each intelligent and more spiritually based choice we make, our lives begin to reflect a higher standard that will not be lost. Whatever is selfish or merely sense-based isn't lasting, but by its very nature must change. Many of us learn this the hard way. I did.

When I was 16, my newly divorced parents were reeling with the challenges of trying to figure out how to start their lives over. It was tough for my folks to provide guidance for us three kids when their world was spiraling out of control. I went elsewhere for love and ended up making some poor choices. By age 17 I had a young child to raise and a very poor sense of who I was or where I was going.

I began looking for something or someone to make me feel fulfilled. I looked for love in all the wrong places, as the song goes, until my foolish choices sent me into a pit of despair, drug use, and fear, with no future in sight.

At a particularly low point, my boyfriend's mother, Grace, gave me a book to read. I had no love for books and had never read one from cover to cover, but Grace was a kind and vibrant woman, so I accepted the book.

I didn't think much about it until another desperate moment caused me to remember the promise that Grace made to me when she handed me "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy. She told me that it would change my life. By then, my life was pretty messed up, and I was tired of suffering, so I decided to read that little book, hoping for a change.

The first time I opened it, I turned at random to a passage about an old man who was an actor. (I was an entertainer then.) This man sat aching in his chair until his cue was spoken, and then he was able to jump up and move around with the same vigor as the youngest member of the cast (see pg. 261). I totally understood what this book was talking about. The demand to play his part caused him to lose himself in the joy of his acting. The freedom that brought him was something I had experienced when I was on stage. I found that I could hit notes I was unable to hit in rehearsal.

This book was so right on, and it spoke to me. I continued reading it night and day. It became a close friend and guide. I loved the natural transformation of my thought, and therefore of my experience, that took place as I read and studied the book in conjunction with the Bible. Fulfillment and lasting relationships were the natural result of better thinking. It was wonderful.

Soon I began to discover the love I yearned for and where the "happily ever after" I hoped for is found. They couldn't be lost in the mistakes of my past or the troubles of my parents. Nor did I have to wait for some time in the elusive future to find the fulfillment I longed for.

I realized and continue to discover, many years later, that everything a person hopes for is in the now of his or her God-given nature. It is part of our package as the individual expression of God to be complete in the continuously unfolding "nows" of life.

The opening line of Science and Health reads: "To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings." This is a real "now" statement we can prove in our lives today.

We are loved by our Creator and worthy of all that we hope for. The music of our lives is a masterpiece of originality and beauty. We don't have to wait for someone or something outside to find our "happily ever after"; we can find it now as children of the one God. In that discovery, we are blessed ever after.

I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Jeremiah 29:11

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