A Lesson In Pride

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Robert Johnson 32°

As Freemasonry is understood, it is "...to make good men better". And so, it is. As a Freemason I struggle, like anyone else with the vices and superfluities of life. I like to think that I leave my ego at the door. I feel as if I treat others the way I would like to be treated. In short, I feel like I practice Freemasonry's tenants as best I can. 

Recently I think I may have forgot about one attribute which snuck up on me and sat me down rather quickly. My wife had been telling me for weeks that her car horn was weak. I knew this, I heard it every time I set the alarm. The last time we brought the car in for service, the technician said "You should think about a new battery soon, this one is getting pretty weak." So long story short, just before my wife has to leave for work, she phones me and says "My car is officially dead." 

Right of the bat, I had forgot about the battery. Luckily she works for a police department and an officer came and picked her up and brought her to the station. But this however was not my transgression. My mistake was pride. The next morning, I woke up early to pick up my wife, she works midnights. On an otherwise cold October morning we were in my Jeep, heat cranked up to 11 and the dog pawing at us from the back seat and I laid down the plans for a simple battery replacement. 

I got my wife home and she went to bed. I went up to the local automotive service center walked confidently up to the battery display, browsed with what must have looked like confusion for a good 10 minutes. I even looked up the type of battery I needed on my smart phone. Now if you think I am some idiot, well I am but not for this reason. I change my oil and do most of the routine maintenance on our vehicles. But this one day, I must have been asked by two or three technicians if I needed help. Each time I said "No thanks.". 

Big mistake. I picked out a battery and went to check out. I felt good. The plan was to travel a whole 6 blocks back home toss in a new battery and I would be on with my day. No sooner did I pull the old battery out, did I get a visit from "Mr. Murphy". So I connected the positive terminal then tightened it. I was half way done. I started to slip on the other terminal connector and the horn from the car started to go off. I honestly couldn't tell you what I was thinking when this was happening because the second I thought about it, I had already made the mistake. 

Not quite this bad. *not my actual car*
It was at that instant, the engine compartment caught fire. I instantly had two options running through my head, one, grab the dead-blow mallet and knock of the negative terminal to stop the reaction and two grab the fire extinguisher. I did just that, in 3 seconds I disconnected the terminal and just as soon did the flames go out except a little fairy of flame dancing on a wire harness in front of the fan. I blew it out like a birthday candle. 

I sat down, I pondered what just happened. As it happens people ask if you need help because that is their job. I turned it down out of pride. In my mind, I was the grandson of an accomplished Naval Electrical Engineer who taught me how to build a Tesla Coil  out of garbage when I was nine years old. That being said, I wasn't thinking. I had in fact bought a battery with reversed terminal pegs than what our car had. I had in effect hooked the positive cable from the car to the negative terminal on the battery and vise versa. 

The weakest point was spawned and a fire ensued. I took the battery back, and the technicians helped me get the right battery. The car was immoveable even after installing the new battery because the ignition is completely electronic. That means I couldn't even put it in neutral. I had to have the car towed to the local dealer and repaired. In all this, a lesson in pride cost me a pretty penny. I guess life has a way of teaching you certain lessons whether you want to learn them or not. Up to this point, I thought I was a pretty "Masonic" kinda' guy. Always questioning my motives and reasons for everything I did, ensuring these pursuits were laudable, righteous and had the best intentions for those around me. 

Ego, check. Greed, check. Pride.....eh I think I get it now. Never be so proud you turn away help. Take the help, listen to suggestions and be grateful for all of it. 


Bro. Robert Johnson, 32° is the Managing Editor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Freemason out of the First North-East District of Illinois. He belongs to Waukegan Lodge No. 78. He is also a member of the York Rite bodies Royal Arch, Cryptic Council, Knights Templar, AMD, The Illinois Lodge of Research and a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Chicago as well as a charter member of the Society of King Solomon, a charity organization run by the Grand Lodge of Illinois. Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts a weekly Podcast (internet radio program) Whence Came You? which focuses on topics relating to Freemasonry. In addition, he produces video shorts focusing on driving interest in the Fraternity and writes original Masonic papers from time to time. He is a husband and father of three. He works full time in the safety industry and is also a photographer on the side as well as an avid home brewer. He is currently working on a book of Masonic essays.

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