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Common Ground

We’re pleased when we can be in agreement with those around us and land in that “sweet spot” where everyone’s agreed. You could call that “sweet spot” our common ground. Fortunately, with some give and take, we enjoy this common ground for the most part. This, however, is not the kind of common ground I’m referring to. I’m making reference to the common six feet under. It is in this uncommon and often unwelcome setting that we find the most common ground.

Death is the great equalizer. The grave is also no respecter of persons. Its appetite is as much for the young as for the old. The prince and pauper alike are invited. The rich or poor are presently received. Those famous and infamous find equal footing on this common ground.

Having been at a recent funeral, I was reminded again of what an impact this common ground has on the living as well as the dead. I saw many people from numerous walks of life drawn together in their common grief to this common ground. Different views fall away in light of our mortality. Past grievances take a back seat to the six feet before us. Death is the common denominator in the equation of life. We are all utterly aware of it yet live like it hardly exists. Perhaps this is best for our general morale as opposed to embracing a morbid view of each passing moment.

Occasional reminders of our inevitable end, barring the Lord’s return, serve as a good reset. It reminds us to disembark from the seas of resentment and will often highlight the pettiness of our grudges. In the best cases, it will lead to reconciliation, in others, at least a loosening of the reigns in an overly firm hand. Hebrews 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”

It is our natural and appropriate state to avoid death in our pursuit of life. But our pursuit of life should never cause us to be inconsiderate of its end. Wisdom walks in the reality of Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

We love life while appreciating intermittent reminders of death, recognizing we reap the blessed benefits of a tender heart, a malleable mind, and a sensitive conscience. These insights are seldom gained with such clarity apart from standing at a grave side on common ground.