• Matthew Kaufman

On The Knife’s Edge

Updated: Mar 25

We all grow up with a foundation. It lies in traditions, politics, principles, and religion. It is a gift handed down by our parents that structures the world around us. However, there comes a time when our foundation is tried in the fire of public discourse and popular opinion. The foundation so staunchly held by your upbringing crumbles and you are left on a knife’s edge to step in one of two directions on an issue. Do you return to your former ideals, or accept the sway of your peers?

I’ve watched many friends forsake old ideals for the ideals of an interest group or a party or an educational standard. The questions churn in my mind. Why did that viewpoint trump their original standard? Why did they slip off the knife’s edge in that direction when they held so strongly to the other side once before? However, that’s not what’s so interesting to me. The real question for me is, “what keeps them from returning?”

Imagine for a moment taking that plunge. You’ve stepped into the abyss. The principles you once held now stand on the other side of a wall. Something nags at you. Perhaps you were wrong. Perhaps your parents, your teachers, your mentors provided a foundation built on truth and wisdom. But you’ve made a choice and took the plunge. Is there a way back?

There is always a path back. But the climb is not pleasant. You see this wall of separation is not broad at the apex. It’s a ragged edge. It can be scaled, but it will be painful. You will cut your hands. You will come out bloodied. You will leave your friends behind, and you will arrive on the other side scarred. Is it worth the pain, the loss, and the humiliation?

I have watched friends take the plunge holding hands with an influencer that guided them to some form of enlightenment. What they find after a time is emptiness. Empty promises, empty hearts, empty friendships. What keeps them from turning back? That tall, bladed wall. It stands resolute, foreboding, painful, and sinister. There’s humility there.

Has your foundation been shattered? Where will you fall? Your decision will impact you more than you’re prepared to face today. You may never return. Step wisely and seek counsel. Wisdom is not easily attained.

Are you staring at the wall, clenching your fists, hurting to return home? As someone on the other side of the wall. I offer my hand. You may be scarred and bloody in this process. I can not remove the pain of the journey. But I can offer my hand in friendship and help you heal. There is wisdom in some of the old ways. Remember them, and you’ll find me there.

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