The most difficult experiences take place at the intersection of acknowledging one’s most egregious imperfections and accepting one’s inadequacies to overcome them. Those are the points at which one asks whether arguments in favor of continuing to live have any merit. Those are the events that lure doubt out from its hidden places and thrust it into the blinding light of reality. Somewhere along the finite span of one’s life, questions inevitably arise as to one’s value in the universe. Sarah Keeling’s first questions arose when she was in high school. The questions grew loud and impossible to ignore during her first year in college. The answers came in bits and pieces; always disappointing, but never sufficiently clear to warrant snuffing out her life.
Later, though, the answers appeared in books, in magazines, in the scrolling words on the bottom of the newscast screen. The answer that emerged from her confrontation with Liz Peppersmith was the deepest one, the one with the most potential to do good or harm. That ugly interaction made her head throb. She realized, after losing the argument with Liz, that she had always been afraid of being caught telling the truth about things that mattered more than the lies that spawned them.