One of the more challenging moments leading up to the release of Sophia was when the dear friend through whom the book was published posed a question and a challenge. This person, for whom I have the utmost respect, expressed concern about the circumstances of Sophia’s death late in the book, wondering if this constituted “violence for the sake of entertainment.” I took this challenge very seriously. Was I just playing with human emotion in crafting a scene where one person does intentional and lethal harm to another? After much reflection and though, I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t, and the scene remained in its original form.
Sophia is, at its core, a story about transcendence-transcendence of all the fears and pettiness that keep human life from being as full and joyful as it can be and, at the end, joining as partners in ultimate transcendence. But transcendence is very different from avoidance. Transcendence acknowledges that when we come up against a barrier, rather than backing away or seeking a way around it, we may need to take a deep breath and plunge right through it. This is the logic behind the troubling scenes in Sophia. By no means was I attempting to in any way condone violence or portray it in an entertaining light. I was rather allowing it to occur once in order that Sophia, Elizabeth, and all the characters of Earth might pass through that dark and frightening gate in order to find the light on the other side.
As a good friend of mine once said: “When a wall of pain appears before you, lean right into it, and watch it crumble.”