The Writer’s Heart: Happy Ever After
“My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;
When shall I come and appear before God …
O my God, my soul is in despair within me …
I will say to God my rock,
‘Why hast Thou forgotten me …’”
(from Psalm 42)
When my Mom walked through the land of dementia, her mind filled with questions. The words of this Psalm identified her want and expressed her need. Her want was for immediate release and understanding of the new world she had no memory of. Peace, hope, and strength for the journey was her need.
In the writing world, I’ve heard authors should give their readers what they want—for most that is a happy-ever-after ending, concluding whatever conflict our characters face. What is needed is how to walk through the struggle and survive to that ending—to know there is peace, hope, and strength available to make it. No one wants a long journey, but the journey is where the need reveals itself. The author’s challenge comes in helping the readers find and fill the need that brings about the happy-ever-after ending we all want. It comes with knowing where to find it.
Three verses in Psalm 42 supply the answer.
“… Hope in God,
for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence …
The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime;
And His song, will be with me in the night,
A prayer to the God of my life …
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance, and my God.”
(from verses 5,8,11)
When Mom would have a really bad day, we would read scripture, pray, and sing praises to our God. Every time, the Lord would meet us there and peace, hope, and strength covered her spirit—until the day He came for her and gave her the happy-ever-after ending she desired.
May we as authors, not only give our readers what they want, but lead them to the place where their needs become their desire. Then our character’s happy-ever-after ending reaches into the reader’s heart where they find their own happy-ever-after ending. And isn’t that what we really want?