Column: Is there any common ground?

There is a story of the Old West about a place in the Rocky Mountains where there was a hot spring coming out of the ground forming a pool of warm, soothing water. People who knew of it would come for a refreshing time. Many American Indian tribes, some who routinely warred with each other, came there, plus the ever-increasing horde of land-hungry settlers pushing west.

The story was that this hot spring was neutral territory. If you were there, you were safe. Even rival tribes would enjoy this natural spa together, and include any settlers who passed by. Once you left the area of the hot springs, hostilities returned. That hot spring was “common” ground, a place considered by all to be too sacred to violate.

There is common ground today — a place to rally together. But we have to look for it and recognize it.

This is the season for the Thanksgiving holiday. It is sad that such a day must be legislated, but it is a time to reflect on what we have rather than our insatiable thirst for what we do not have. Spend some time this year counting blessings.

Other common ground is friends and neighbors. We are never more satisfied than when we are contributing to the common good. Helping each other draws us together and lowers so many barriers. In other words, it’s difficult to be angry at somebody who disagrees with you if he loaned you his lawnmower.

The most common ground is family. The Old Testament Psalm 68, verse 6, declares, “God sets the lonely in families.” Family means belonging. We may not agree, but we belong and nobody can take that from us.

This nation has a history of conflict. There were the revolutionaries and the loyalists, there was the North and the South, and now there are so many things that could divide us that we lose track of the latest issue.

Let’s seek the common ground — that “hot spring” where hostilities are laid aside for a time and enjoy the goodness that surrounds us.

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