Turning Point by Beth Irvine: Gifts and happy endings

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Who doesn’t long for happy endings and suitable prizes?  There’s a saying making the rounds: “If you’re not happy it just means you haven¹t reached the end yet”.  I think we may be fooling ourselves with that one.  Take the story of Cinderella and the Prince, for instance.  We want them to have a blissful wedding, they’ve earned it with their hard work and persistence.  But, realistically, what about their future?  Though we know that the labour of marriage would follow, we want to leave the story at the wedding.  I suppose anniversaries are a way to celebrate the happier moments.

J.R.R. Tolkien's Bilbo the Hobbit, in strange circumstances, received the ‘gift’ of a ring that enabled him to vanish.  After all his uncomfortable adventures, we are satisfied to exit the story there, believing he has earned his bit of fun. While finding the ring may end Bilbo’s story, it was not the end of the story of the ring and all its attendant horrors.  At the end of the ring’s story, everyone is haggard . . . peaceful but damaged.  We don’t want to leave the story there, do we?  So we think of it as a new beginning, rather than an ending.

What is a gift?  Oh, I don¹t mean birthday presents or the ones that brings or even Trojan Horses.  I mean the special or unique abilities that an individual has.  You¹ve probably seen those tests haven’t you?  Like, ‘What is your Spiritual Gift?’  Apparently there are seven. Or is that just someone pulling magical numbers out of the air? Whatever gift you think you have, those sly questions will unearth something in your character that will surprise you!

Phoebe Ann Moses had a gift.  She was only five feet tall, but she could hit a playing card thrown into the air, with a rifle, at 90 feet.  She was most fortunate in that she had a manager who understood her gift (because he was a sharpshooter, too) so she could lead her otherwise quiet life and enjoy needlepoint in her spare time.  Phoebe, also known as Annie Oakley, used her gift to help support her family: from the age of eight on, she shot game for a Cincinnati hotel. I’m sure her gift was a great blessing to her and those around her.  The fame of it certainly earned her a place in history.  I wonder how comfortable she was, though, training American troops for World War I?

And how about the troops in the Canadian Expeditionary Force?  As we commemorate the beginning of The Great War, what will we think about? Will we be satisfied to examine their gifts and spotlight happy endings? From our vantage point in 2014, it¹s hard to look at WWI as a new beginning; we know it was all going to happen again just a few years later. Perhaps it was just one step along the way to something that is still in our future, a gift yet to come.

Organizations: Cincinnati hotel

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