2020-05-27 - Common Ground
Between the ages of three and five, I was prone to staying in trouble. It usually involved teasing or irritating my brother or occasionally sticking up for him-highly passionate in either case, but still prone to mischief. With him being more than two years older, formulating solitary activity was necessary, and then later when unnecessary, was rather preferred. His nature leans more toward introvert and mine extrovert, and while neither solely confined to one or the other, it was just enough for us to drive each other crazy, early on. But some things we could agree on, like cookies. My brother’s specialty was being able to hear package wrappers crinkling open for the first time, while deep into his own thoughts that were generally impenetrable to the sound of my chatter or even Mom’s voice calling us to dinner. My superpower was finding cookies hidden from our father, so they would be available for Ed’s school lunch. I would find them when no one was around, climb up to the top of the kitchen cabinets of our townhouse; then lay on top of them and eat a few Oreos. I’m not sure why it was not obvious to me that I would, at some point, get caught doing this-the kitchen being the most trafficked place in the residence - the home of the percolator, toaster, stove and refrigerator commonly used to take care of a family. Although a child, however small, is not something commonly found on the top of kitchen cabinets, so likely quite noticeable to the lady of our house. And then there is the rattling of wrappers and crunching of cookies above her head while she is standing at the counter. Perhaps I was more focused on being close to her rather than staying out of trouble. Thinking from the grown perspective, it seems a balance between one kid often in self-solitary confinement, with the other disappearing and in need of a small search party, might have been nice for her. As it turns out, my brother and I were the perfect balance between our similarities and differences-and after all, we both agreed on and loved Oreo cookies. From birth to young adulthood, our Mom was the balance-teaching us how each of our styles mattered, and could share common ground no matter how diverse, and despite how insane it must have driven her in the process.
Can you imagine God being driven to distraction by how his children sometimes behave? I can. He wants very much to teach all of us how to use each of our gifts and talents-however different-for the good of all. But we are more prone to go astray and do our own thing, hence my need to climb cabinets among other things while my brother doing his best to avoid me. As adults interacting or not the behaviors uncorrected can increase to things such as shoplifting, carjacking, assault, burglary, arson, kidnapping, embezzlement, forgery, and homicide-along with a wide range of things in between. Finding that balance early on can reduce escalation to the point of lawlessness, but there is no guarantee. The only real guarantee is the salvation offered by our Father in heaven, should we choose to receive it. And when we go astray, we all need for forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7 & Colossians 1:13-14) along with correction (2 Timothy 3:16 & 4:2). Proper correction, at whatever point in going awry, gives us the best chance for sharing common ground with our creator eternally. Whether climbing cabinets or much worse, we can find peace from knowing our eternal soul is secure. The difference is whether we get to go play with others after a home restriction, or watch others from a cell or in a common room in prison. I am grateful to have had the guidance I needed - as a little girl at home and then a grown woman meeting Jesus - to help bring others to a place of common ground with my own gifts and talents. Are you willing to share yours for the same cause, or learn how if it is new to you? (Romans 10:9-11 & 17-21)
All verses are from the King James Version (KJV) unless otherwise noted.