An Inconvenient Truth

How facing up to, and publicizing, a painful history resulted in a little bit of grace.

September 2010

We’ve all heard the cliché: “Cream will rise to the top.” We believe people who work hard enough will meet their financial needs, become voters, taxpayers—fully realized adults. And they should. And I believe they want to.

But cream doesn’t rise when the can is being shaken, and there was a time in my life when all I could do was sink. Had I not had a brother to call, or a home to return to, or financial aid, I could have gotten stuck there, in that strange and horrible purgatory.

I sometimes wonder if, back then, I would have had the presence of mind to contact a group like Zonta. I’m not even sure I knew such groups existed. But I like to believe that I would have. Eventually. Somehow, word would have reached my ears, and I would have reached back.

I would have said please.

And they would have said yes.

Not no. Yes. And that is why I agreed to give that talk for Zonta Foothills Club, to tell the There, but for the grace of God, go I story I think we all need to hear. Because I’m grateful to groups that help women like me—women who need the shaking to stop so they can rise. I’m reminded of what Amelia Earhart, who was a huge Zonta supporter, once said: “Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace.” Amen, sister. Here’s to trying to be brave, and here’s to hoping grace descends upon us all.

Laura Pritchett, whose most recent book is Going Green: True Tales from Gleaners, Scavengers, and Dumpster Divers, writes the “Notes from the Front Range” column for the magazine. E-mail her at [email protected]. For information on the Zonta Foothills Club of Boulder County, please visit