After Happily Ever After | Connecting with Culture
Do you ever read the final page of a book and find yourself desperate to know what happens next?
To celebrate 30 years since the publication of Roald Dahl’s novel Matilda, Quentin Blake has released a series of sketches imagining different career paths that the eponymous heroine might have taken: astrophysicist, world traveller, librarian.
Jacqueline Wilson’s feisty character Tracy Beaker is also back. When her fans last met her, she was living in care and dreaming of a future filled with fame and fortune. In a new novel, we meet her again at the age of 27. She’s a single mum living on a rough estate, struggling to make ends meet, but offering her child what she herself never had: security and unconditional love.
Given an opportunity to reflect on where some of our – or our children’s – beloved fictional heroines are now may provoke reflection on the path our own lives have taken. Perhaps like Blake’s illustrations suggest of Matilda, we have found a fulfilling way to exercise our gifts. Perhaps, like Tracy, the realities of adult life feel a long way from our childhood dreams.
Either way, discovering what has happened to these characters may raise questions for us all. Their original stories had a happy ending, but how long does the happiness continue? In the long term, can the underdog really win out? Can dreams really come true? Can we really overcome our struggles and find a lasting sense of satisfaction, significance, and belonging?
None of us know what tomorrow will bring, let alone where we may find ourselves in 30 years’ time. But as Christians our security is rooted in the love of God. Our significance is anchored in the purposes of God. Our vision for ‘success’ is powered by the life of God’s Spirit in us.
So whether you are a world traveller or a single mum, it can be tempting to spend time looking back and comparing your current situation with your childhood dreams. But look forward also to the good work that God is doing in and through you (Philippians 1:6). What you will fight for? What temptations you will resist? Who you will sacrificially love? What hope you will nurture in others?
Rachel attends King’s Church Durham and works in marketing.