If we’re doing it right, we’re trying to become better people all the time. I try to take stock once in a while, look at where I’ve been and what improvements I’ve made and remind myself I can change. That enables me to take an honest look at who I am now and then identify those things I need to work on. Recently, I realized my spiritual life was struggling from lack of nourishment. So, I knuckled down and recommitted myself to doing those things I know are important but that I had let slip in recent months. The result? A renewal of self-confidence and a closer relationship with God, which is important to me. I’m a slightly better husband and father than I was just a little while, and a little less likely to worry or to snap when frustrated.

Basically, I’m in the honeymoon period of change.

What comes next is the test. My patience will be tried and things won’t go as I’d like. It’s not that I’ll be punished for trying to be a better person, I’ll just be tested. I’ve been around the block on this enough times to know the difference. That’s the trick with this cycle of betterment: it never really stops. You go round and round and you hope that each time through you get better and better. Sometimes I have to work on things I’ve already dealt with once before, but that’s okay. Long as I’m still here on this Earth, I’ve got the opportunity to do it better the next time.

So, the test comes around and what do you do? You meet it head on or you fail. It was easy for Tangerine, locked in a cell, with no opportunity to really do anything of consequence, to adopt a new, more righteous worldview as he understands it. It’s quite another thing for him to be faced with a dilemma that would be better resolved by his old self. He doesn’t have the right mental equipment to navigate this problem, not anymore. If he kills again he gives in to the worst part of himself and turns his back on his newfound spirituality and faith. If he doesn’t kill, he loses his sons, arguably the best part of himself. He may be laughing in the second panel, but the full weight of this impossible choice is going to hit him and he will be tested and… what will he do? What would you do?

Who are you, really, when the honeymoon period is over and it’s time prove yourself?