I have a dusty old box full of books stashed in the corner of my bedroom. It has all the children’s stories that I used to read to my kids when they were still young. I am patiently waiting for the day when I can open it again. I am waiting for the special moments when I will have grandchildren on my lap, a book in my hands, and a story on my lips once again. There are a few books, however, that I won’t be reading to them. These are the books that I gave away a long time ago. They are the ones ending in, "And they lived happily ever after." You see, I spent far too many of my own years waiting for that magical "happily ever after" that never came. It took me a long time to realize that some problem free future doesn’t exist. Each solved problem is soon replaced by another and then another. Life is full of challenges, growth, pain, and learning. There is no escape from it.
There is no perfect "happily ever after" waiting over the next horizon. Happiness isn’t some reward we finally get either. It is rather a choice we make day by day and moment by moment. Happiness is created by loving each other through all the challenges, growth, problems, and pain. Happiness comes from giving of yourself, helping others, and loving God. It comes from being the person your Heavenly Father meant for you to be. That is the truth I want my future grandchildren to know someday.
We need to teach the children that Cinderella’s problems and challenges didn’t end the moment she tried on that glass slipper. We need to teach them that the true adventure in life isn’t in living "happily ever after" but in loving each other no matter what may come our way. Only then will brief moments of happiness be replaced by lasting days of joy. Only then will a problem free tomorrow be replaced by a well-lived today.