I promise: If you've not seen Oz: The Great and Powerful yet, don't worry, I won't reveal anything here. No spoiler alert about the movie.
But, I did spoil the entire movie for my family last week. No, really. Spoiled it.
My wife, Laura, and our daughter, Olivia, had especially been looking forward to seeing the movie, so Wonder Dad that I am, I left the office early one day last week and surprised the fam with a trip to the theater. Liv's boyfriend, Jacob, was home for spring break too, and being the caring, supportive boyfriend he is, he eagerly celebrated the family excursion (such a smart young man).
I'd done my homework and locked in the time sequencing. Leave the office by 2:30. Leave home by 3:15. Be in the theater for ten minutes of previews by 3:45. Perfect.
We were close. Really close. But after concessions and a restroom stop it was 3:50 before Laura and I sat to save seats for our kiddos who were still finishing up the pit stop.
Strange. Seemed like the movie was already playing. Zipped right through the perpetual previews. Missed 'em all. Well, that's never happened. Five minutes from "show time" and the previews are over and the feature film is rolling.
Ah, the kids. Defying all the cell phone rules (which we'd missed this time), Laura flashed her phone light to guide them to our seats. As Liv sat down she whispered, "Is this the end of the movie?"
That's it! I thought, we're about to roll back into a significant flashback. Good. We didn't miss that much!
But over the next few minutes... no flashback. At all. This really did look like an ending. THE ending.
Spoiler. No alert. No notice. It WAS the end.
"Quick! Let's go! If we're in here at the very, very, credits-are-rolling end, we'll not get back in the theater for the next show."
Frustrated we stepped out into the lighted hallway and looked at our ticket stubs. 4:45pm.
We looked up at Theater 2's scrolling marque: 1:45pm.
Then I remembered: Oh, yeah. It was 4:45, not 3:45. Crap.
It was the end. The end of the movie. The end of my Wonder Dad reign.
The mystery that had lingered from the movie trailer was now revealed. Sixty-second trailer. Three-minute movie ending. Over. Done.
Or was it? I insisted that while we knew the end, we still didn't know the "how" leading up to the end. Surely, we could still enjoy the movie (Yes, I was scrambling to redeem what I could of my dad-self.).
So we bought more concessions, refilled our drinks and sorted through the disappointment while we waited for the 4:45pm showing.
Turns out, in life, we do know the ending. Jesus is Lord. He is the ultimate, victorious King.
The credits haven't rolled, but we've gotten a peak at how this whole thing winds up. Redemption and restoration will be the final chapter on a story that has no end.
Of course, this Story isn't enjoyed from a comfortable spectator seat. This Story requires me to get out of my seat, actively engaging my unique, God-created role.
So, I'll treat today like a new beginning. I'll enter the Story, invited by the Author, and engage my part. I don't have to know all the details yet. The joy of the moment isn't spoiled by the revealed ending. The joy is in the process. The fullness is in the experience.