Once upon a time there was a little girl who lived in a happy family with a mom, a dad, a sister, and a brother. They were together all the time, and they loved being just the five of them. They traveled and had dogs and swam in the summertime and were happy.
Then the family started to change, and everybody realized that the family wasn’t so happy after all. The kids took sides when the marriage dissolved and for a while the family was split in half. For a while there were so many secrets and lies on both sides that nobody could communicate without wondering “what that meant.”
And the little girl who was now a grown-up girl wondered what was the point, since in the end everything always falls apart anyway.
Then the girl started to find her own family. She found a boy who smoked a pipe and played the bagpipes and had a sweet family of his own. She married that boy in a church and made the people in the church her family. She found a job that she loved and made even more friends. She opened her home to two dogs and adopted two kittens and made their little house full with peace and laughter.
And the girl started to wonder what the difference was. Her parents had started the same way, and somehow their story had crumbled in tears and anger. Why was hers different?
Then she realized what she had that her parents didn’t.
She had love. Love she knows will last a lifetime.
She had love with her husband, who cradled her in her tears and promised he would never leave her. She had love with her mother- and father-in-law, even when her mother-in-law drew her last breath with cancer in her brain and the love of God in her soul. She had love with her sister, once their anger was put aside and they realized that in the end they were sisters no matter what. She had love with her brother as she watched him eagerly seek out strong men to help shape him into the man he became. She had love with her mom, whom she watched crumble and rise again from the ashes. She had love for her father even though their relationship has had its ups and downs.
And she started to believe love—in active devotion to life-long relationships, free from guilt or unreasonable expectation.
She had love and was loved. And so far, she’s lived happily ever after.