The sun will rise again. The only uncertainty is whether or not we will rise to greet it.
Alan Christoffersen’s diary
Several months after I was mugged, stabbed, and left unconscious along the shoulder of Washington’s Highway 2, a friend asked me what being stabbed felt like. I told her it hurt.
Really, how do you describe pain? Sometimes doctors ask us to rate our pain on a scale from one to ten, as if that number had some reliable meaning. In my opinion there needs to be a more objective rating system, something comparative; like, would you trade what you’re feeling for a root canal or maybe half a childbirth?
And with what would we compare emotional pain—physical pain? Arguably, emotional pain is the greater of the two evils. Sometimes people will inflict physical pain on themselves to dull their emotional anguish. I understand. If I had the choice between being stabbed or losing my wife, McKale, again, the knife has the advantage—because if the knife kills me, I stop hurting. If it doesn’t kill me, the wound will heal. Either way the pain stops. But no matter what I do, my McKale is never coming back. And I can’t imagine that the pain in my heart will ever go away.
Still, there is hope—not to forget McKale, nor even to understand why I had to lose her—but to accept that I did and somehow go on. As a friend recently said to me, no matter what I do, McKale will always be a part of me. The question is, what part—a spring of gratitude, or a fountain of bitterness? Someday I’ll have to decide. Someday the sun will rise again. The only uncertainty is whether or not I will rise to greet it.
In the meantime, what I hope for most is hope. Walking helps. I wish I were walking again right now. I think I’d rather be anywhere right now than where I am.
© 2011 Richard Paul Evans
The Road to Grace
Full of hard-won wisdom and truth, this is a moving stand-alone story as well as the continuation of the unforgettable bestselling Walk series. The Road to Grace is a compelling and inspiring novel about hope, healing, grace, and the meaning of life.
THE ROAD TO GRACE with Richard Paul Evans
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Reading Group Guide
In the third book in Richard Paul Evans’s bestselling series, former advertising executive Alan Christoffersen continues his walk across the United States in an attempt to find solace after the death of his wife and the betrayal of his business partner. When a mysterious woman begins to follow him on his journey, Alan is forced to confront his past and some hard truths about his late wife’s family.
Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. Many characters in both film and literature embark upon journeys as a reaction to unexpected life events. How does Alan’s journey compare to other “journey” narratives you’ve encountered? What is significant about Alan’s determination to cover hundreds of miles by foot?
2. Do you think that Pamela’s explanation of her behavior justifies what she did to McKale? Are her actions understandable?
3. Based on your knowledge of Alan’s history with his former business partner Kyle Craig, were you surprised that Leszek was able to convince him to in see more