Abyss

I struggled with figuring out what to write this week. Conflicting instincts pulled me to either express rage at the events at the Capitol last week and look back at all that led up to it or  to move past them and share some thoughts of hope or even beauty.

Stuck in the middle, I remembered this quote from the movie Wall Street. “Man looks in the abyss, there’s nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the abyss.”  

If you were troubled by the events on January 6th, and how could you not be, then please do not look away.

Stare into that abyss and ask yourself, what does it reveal about the character of our country, our politics, our media, and ourselves?

According to Oxford Languages, the definitions for abyss include booth “a deep or bottomless chasm” and “a wide or profound difference between people; a gulf.”

These chasms and gulfs that divide us expose a deep level of distrust in our institutions, our government, our businesses, and most sadly, each other. All across our society, there is a growing inequity of trust.  Increased trust leads to more happiness, security, community and opportunity. Low levels of trust descends us  to misery, anxiety, divisiveness and chaos. This trust inequity was explored in a recent conversation I had with Rachel Botsman, a leading expert and author on trust in the modern world.

Looking into the abyss can be scary, our instincts are to look away.  Please don’t.  Instead watch the footage from last week.  Look at the pictures, read about the stories of those that stormed the capital AND those who tried to prevent it.  Listen to the words of politicians who inflamed the situation AND those who offered hard truths after. Think about who you trust AND don’t and why.

After a good hard look, ask yourself, “What will I do to keep us out of that abyss?”

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