March 23, 2014

On Being Brave

I sit quietly in my chair, tears rolling down my cheeks. I can hardly believe what I'm reading. Jason, deep in his own book across the room doesn't notice and that's fine with me. I don't really want to share this moment with anyone. Not yet. I sniff and look at the clock. I'm supposed to leave for a coffee date with a friend in a few minutes. I need to pull myself together.

After all, it's only a story, right?

I can't do it. I can't shake the sadness. Oh, I cheer up at coffee. My friend provides the perfect distraction. But even sipping my tea, I can still feel the weight of something-not-right. Heroines are not supposed to die. After giving so much, after surviving so much, they are supposed to live. To restore and heal and live.

So much of this story deals with healing and forgiveness. Potent messages that are not preached or pounded, but simply discovered. The characters are as surprised as we are to find that past wrongs, even grievous ones, can be overcome.

Why then, did the author choose to let the heroine die? I don't know. Her choice is unsettling, unhappy, but I respect it. And I respect how she handled the last chapters of the book afterward. Nothing rose-colored or happily-ever-after here. But there is courage. There is hope.

"There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you ever loved, for the sake of something greater.
But sometimes it doesn't.
Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life.
That is the sort of bravery I must have now." 
-- Four (from Allegiant by Veronica Roth) 

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