Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Snickers Are Bad (Not The Candy Bar)

Two weeks ago while in the midst of memorizing the dialog from the play I was in, I dropped by the lodge on my way to a dress rehearsal. I was dropping off the ballot box for a vote that evening. It was in my possession because the very old box is in need of repair and was at another Brothers house for that purpose. At the meeting beforehand the WM had sent the Tiler out to our closet to get it and after a few minutes of furious searching outside the lodge room(our poor Tiler) the Brother who had taken it home for repair came up to me and reminded me that he had taken it. He could not make the last meeting either and dropped it off to me at work for me to drop off before lodge. GOT THAT STRAIGHT?
Anyway, I had time to drop it off and rush to my play rehearsal, so for the first time I came to lodge not intending to stay. I have to admit it was a strange feeling coming to lodge in jeans and a sweatshirt and rushing out after a brief hello. Attending lodge regularly is such a part of my life that when I don't do it it feels weird!?!
Sooo, during the cordial hellos I was reminded that our next meeting will be a step up night and a fellowcraft degree and I snickered and jokingly asked the Senior Warden if he was ready for it and had he memorized all of his lines yet. He said he would be ready and I ran out and went to my dress rehearsal.
I have been acting in a local theatre company for a year or so and after a few bit parts I was given a romantic lead role, including a beautiful duet with a leading lady. Between Lodge meetings and sickness I had missed quite a few rehearsals and had up to that point had not even rehearsed the big duet. My voice never quite recovered from the evil-death flu I had survived and the song itself was at the top of my singing range so needless to say I was very nervous about the performance. Add the fifteen minutes or so of dialogue and I can honestly say that I had not read anything esoteric or Masonic in the month leading up to the play. It wasn't until during a call the next day that my snickering at my Brother Senior Warden became ironic.
My WM who was the man who got me involved with the theatre company called me to ask if I needed help with the fellowcraft ritual. I said that other than a couple of words here and there that it was not much different than the two EA degrees that we had just done and I was getting pretty comfortable in the South. He then reiterated that it was a step up night, to which I responded that our SW told me he was ready, to which he retorted who do you think will be sitting in his chair during the degree!
During all of our talks about doing a step up night I never realized that I was going to step up into the West when the SW stepped up to the East. This sent me to my ritual book in a fury of looking up all I had to learn.
My snicker boomeranged on me.
I put off memorizing the ritual until after my play and for the past few days have been catching up with the fervor of a man possessed.
We'll see how it goes on Thursday night, I hope I don't slip into the Irish accent I used during my play!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Where's My 24 Inch Gauge

For my twenty or so readers:
When things are going great it becomes even harder to manage time. With the exponential growth of my lodge comes exponential responsibility to the few who do the most. I am proud to say we have already initiated more Brothers in the short time this year than we had done in the past two put together and we still have more waiting. This makes things extremely hard for a married man and father of three who has a hard time saying no to anything and is involved in more things than anyone my wife knows.
Between my blog, lodge, local theatre company, church, regular work and second job, I have been admittedly absent from my family way too much even when in their presence. That is why my posting has precipitously dropped as of late. It was my lovely wife who shed the light on me and I thank her for it. I had been so immersed in all of my extracurricular activities that even when I was home physically, my mind was almost always somewhere else, thinking about the future of my lodge, my next post, memorizing ritual or dialogue from my play. The problem was not in that I was doing all of these things, it was that I was doing these things alone and in my thick skull.
There are some of us who are bound by an even more ancient and important obligation than our Masonic one, you know, the obligation that allows us to wear a ring signifying our membership in the oldest organization in the world, marriage. It is a mysterious and magical union that takes a lifetime to master, and not all can. I call to my mind an image of the night I was installed in the South. The installing officer was a Most Worshipful Past Grand Master of Connecticut and his prompter was not a Mason but his lovely wife sitting on the sidelines with the ritual in her hands. It was reassuring to see even a PGM can miss a line every now and then and even more reassuring to see that his wife helps him with his ritual.
When I joined Freemasonry I had read from many different sources that the only secrets of Masonry were its grips, words, and signs and that the ritual was not a secret. It is my firm belief that that is true. As I started to be asked to perform parts of the ritual for degrees I readily went to my wife for help. I know I could go to any of the brethren for help but it is much more convenient to go to my wife and helping me memorize my ritual helps her to understand that we aren't sacrificing virgins or anything else ominous and evil at my meetings. It also keeps up a dialogue between us that is necessary for a healthy marriage and I can say without a doubt her help is more beneficial than any other method I have tried. When she corrects me I can hear her voice in my head and I wont mess up that part again. For some reason or another I had not been going to her for help. I had been engrossed in reading and writing and all of the other stuff I do. I can trace back my disastrous "G" lecture (read my Fumbling Fellowcraft Degree) directly to not having her help me with that lecture and it was my fault for not asking.

It is all behind me now, and she is currently helping me memorize my dialogue for my upcoming play and all is well on the home front. When I start to prepare for my second attempt at the notorious "G" lecture in two weeks, I am going straight to her and maybe this time wont fumble it all up.

Do you tell your wife what goes on in lodge?