Once upon a time there was a boy.
A happy little boy. Dark brown hair. Brilliant blue eyes. And a sprinkling of freckles across his nose.
Life was about chasing lizards, soccer balls and friends at recess. The desert setting became his playground. Hot sunny days and warm summer nights.
Disappointments were missed soccer goals and cactus thorns needing immediate removal. Something Mom could make better with an ice cream cone and a good pair of tweezers.
Days turned into months and months into years. A child turning the corner and headed into a new chapter of life. Adulthood. This chapter saw different disappointments. The kind no flavor of ice cream could fix.
Broken promises. Unrealized expectations. Life had taken turns - in the wrong direction.
He felt alone. Deserted. Felt abandoned by everyone.
I listened. Heard the words of his story. Felt the pain in his heart.
In my fifty plus years of life I knew that his story was not over. That life has a way of working out. “It will be okay,” I said. “We just can’t see it yet.”
And so he went to find himself. Find beauty in the world again. He began biking and climbing in the quiet canyons and mountains of Utah. Bringing his camera to capture the peace. The beauty around him.
And that’s where he met her.
Both searching for assurance. Looking for meaning. Hoping for answers. Clinging to their faith.
The pictures became his passion. His career. A gift he’d never realized until now.
And the friend became his wife.
It was the week of the wedding. I had never seen him happier. His face. His voice.
A quiet voice whispered. Reminded me where he had once been. I remembered a quote that I had emailed him one dark, discouraging day.
"Where is my fairy tale?"
A question spoken by the heart. Felt in the soul.
We all want it. The fairy tale that Disney shows us is smooth, easy, and beautiful. It is about receiving - not giving. The mortal, tired, and fearful part of us wants the fairy tale. It is effortless and predictable.
But life is not like that. And it's not supposed to be.
We yearn for the Disney fairy tale when our perfectly laid plans crumble. A time when dreams are shattered. Life is a mess. Nothing seems fair.
God is aware of our “Once upon a time.” He knows our story.
The plot thickens as characters are being developed. He knows all the words with the turns and twists that become our story. The joy. The laughter. The heartache. And the tears.
Then story lines take us places we could not have imagined. New chapters and lessons become perfectly aligned. Just as He knew they would. Details of the story connecting in ways that enlighten and enrich. Every story a miracle.
This is the real fairy tale.
Chapters which take us to mountaintops where vision is clear and victory is realized. And chapters where eyes see the steep trail and we feel defeated and overwhelmed. Unable or unwilling to climb.
Each chapter won't define us. But they will shape us. Change us.
Where one chapter ends, another begins. A life-long process of learning to trust. Struggles becoming strengths. Developing eternal perspectives. And becoming more like Him.
He will weep with joy as we turn the final page.
“And they lived happily ever after …”
Proud of our journey back to Him. To a place more glorious than we can even imagine.
Until then, we live. One chapter at a time. We are never alone. He knows the beginning, the middle, and the end.
Of our beautiful fairy tale.