Tuesday, August 12, 2008

An Icy Hill in August

"The well-being of every nation, like that of every individual, is threefold,---physical, moral, and intellectual. Neither physically, morally, or intellectually is a people ever stationary. Always it either advances or retrogrades; and, as when one climbs a hill of ice, to advance demands continual effort and exertion, while to slide downward one needs but to halt"

Bro. Albert Pike
The Meaning of Masonry
The Evil Consequences of Schisms and disputes for Power in Masonry,
and Jealousies and Dissensions Between Masonic Rites

When last I read these words I was dug in deep to the ritual. I was preparing for my first time in the East while reading three other books on Masonry and blogging about it all at least once a week. My effort was continual my thought was enveloped. Every meeting brought new challenges and satisfying rewards. The first half of the Masonic year at my lodge ended with the culmination of much work and fellowship, a Master Mason degree for five new brothers and then we broke for summer.

Just over the horizon, in the promise of summer, was a shimmering hill. Breaking over the hill was a blinding light that obscured the actual view. The light of continuing fellowship and working together to perform a MM degree ourselves, for other Brothers waiting for the sublime degree, warmed what was to be a couple of months where we would not meet. But overshadowed by the light, was the surface of that hill, glistening ice.

As the weeks passed by in summer bliss the effort stopped and with every day spent enjoying the season I slid further back. My reading slowed. My thoughts turned to other things. I lapsed into lazy enjoyment and here I am.

I have tried to get back in the swing of things but the call of the warm sun and delightful sound of my children laughing was much stronger.

Esoteric thought is like a growing garden. It needs continual pruning and work to keep out the weeds. The garden of my mind is a little overgrown right now which is not a bad thing. I realized that in my deep research and meditation about Masonry I had been a little absent in the things in my life that mean a lot more than the craft, my family.

I had realized this a while back but it really sank in this summer.

Recently while out for a beautiful and enjoyable meal alone with my wife the subject of Masonry came up. My wife stated that she loved the fact I was so committed to the order and she knew how much it meant to me but she asked me one question that I could not adequately answer. She asked me what I get out of the fraternity. I said that I had become a better man and enjoy helping others become the same (crappy standard answer). To which she told me that I was already a good man before I joined Freemasonry so that was not a good enough answer. Which made me stop and really think about it. I did not answer her question that night and have been thinking really hard about it ever since.

I guess it is the fellowship that really ties me to the craft. I enjoy spending time with other men who I would not normally associate with in my daily life. I also enjoy the ritual. It is a challenge to learn and perform the degrees for the benefit of the new Brothers. The deeper stuff can't be communicated but I realize that I need to tone it down a bit and enjoy what is around me more and not live in my own head so much.
The advancement starts anew.