W.B. Jon Sage
This morning, I sat across a breakfast table at Lodge from a 51 year Mason, and we spoke of Bob, who is a mutual friend and Brother, and who also just happened to celebrate the 70th anniversary of his Raising. Throughout the course of our conversation, we spoke of many things, and touched on more than a couple topics within Freemasonry and also within the local community.
Of the most importance in our talk, were two things:
- Fraternal Brotherhood and Friendship
- Service to God and our Fellow man
For nearly an hour, and without hesitation or having to “try to” talk about things, these two topics formed the foundation of the conversation. At two or three different points, other Brethren joined in, and included a memory or anecdote about Bob. As it happens, Bob is the eldest “Mason” (Masonically and not necessarily chronologically) within my Lodge, and I learned today that he is facing some pretty serious health issues. However, he is taking them all in stride and is receiving specific therapy so that he will not only be able to maintain some independence, but will also be “better enabled” to help out in the many community projects that the Brethren within our Lodge engage in.
Let me be specific. Bob is blind is one eye, and is now losing his sight in the remaining eye. He will absolutely be blind in a matter of time. Yet, he has not lost his sight of humanity in need, and of his obligation, as a man and a Mason, to help to relieve what he is able to do. No– he is learning Braille so that he will be able to read plans and help to direct projects. He is learning to navigate by utilizing his other senses… the ones we learn of in the Fellow Craft Degree. Bob is learning to use his entire being to compensate for the loss of sight, so that he not only remains a productive member of Lodge and of society, but also– and most importantly, that he be able to continue to HELP others who may be less fortunate than he!
I must say one thing at this point. We all have faults. I do, and so does Bob. Over the years, I have noticed some of his faults; they aren’t numerous, but yeah– I always felt that Bob could stand improvement in at least a couple areas. As I sat and heard… as I learned of his new challenges, and how he was actively re-directing his strengths, in order that he be helpful to his fellow Brethren and Friends– my perceived faults of my Brother melted away. In that instant, I learned an important lesson! We all have battles to fight. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Very rarely do we do both at once.
Bob is LOSING his sight, and in the process, is not getting any younger. At 91 years of age, he is among the oldest among our membership rolls. Some might argue that he might be obliged to retire, to take it easy. But this is not the case. He is using his mental and physical faculties to WIN at every corner.
Of all the talk that I hear of and engage in regarding Masonry and the Freemasonic family, much of it hinges on the intricacies of religious and philosophical overtones. More often than not, my discussions with others become mired in the inane of who knows what; who learned what; who practices what; so on and so on… It has been a while indeed since the conversation was centered solely on the very fabric of the Fraternity.
Service and Brotherhood
Brethren, let us always remember that while some may sit and type papers, and others may sit and debate the finer points of a Masonic life well led; there are many others who truly set the bedrock of the Institution. These men already know of the finer points, and also of the philosophy. They understand that while wording may be intricate and delicate in nature; actions are not! These men of substance, of prowess, of longevity– have understood long before some of us were conceived in the womb that while Masonry may be debated and understood on hundreds of levels, Freemasonry is– was– and will be– centered around very basic and tangible elements. All of them easily attained, and all of them aimed at the better good of not only the Fraternity, but also of humanity and the world in general.
What we do for ourselves dies with us – what we do for others remains and is immortal.