by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Aaron Gardner

When addressing the Nation with his first inaugural speech, President and Brother Franklin D. Roosevelt gave us a line that we still use today because of how true it really is. He is speaking in regards of the Nation’s future when he says “ The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” He continues to define exactly what fear is, the unreasoning and unjustified terror. Fear holds us back as a nation from doing what we need to do in order to progress further into the future. However, doesn’t it motivate from the other side as well? 

When I was seventeen years old I enlisted in the Army. I didn’t let my fear of the future get in the way, I just signed the dotted line and barely listened to what the recruiter had to say. The truth is, I knew what I was doing before I walked into the recruiting office. I was signing up for new adventures, an education and an experience that few could have on their own. I left for basic training a year later, pumped and motivated but a little afraid of what was to come. I have seen all the movies, TV shows and the Youtube videos of the Soldiers in training, but I knew that it wouldn’t be like that because I did training already for a year with my recruiters and different Soldiers. Still, the uncertainty left a sense of fear in my mind of what was going to happen. 

When I walked up to that door feeling ridiculous in the clothing I was wearing, the hoodwink over my eyes; I couldn’t help but have a sense of fear of what was about to happen as my hand was fixed upon the door to render 3 loud raps. I have been a Soldier for quite some time by now, with tours all across Iraq, Africa, Europe and the United States there wasn’t much to make me feel scared. However, losing a sense that I rely very heavily on tends to put that sense of fear in my heart. I knew there was nothing to be afraid of, by all the research I had conducted regarding Freemasonry, but still I was somewhat exposed and had no choice but to rely on my conductor and other senses to guide me around. Knowing not what I was really getting myself into, the fear motivated me to want more and find out where I was going on this path of enlightenment. 

Here I sit, writing this article with great zeal and love for the Craft and still with some fear in my heart. It isn’t uncommon for me to write an article, complete the entire article and not have it published. I may write it, revise and edit it then decide the article isn’t quite what I was looking for. I fear the article may have some backlash, or that it doesn’t represent Freemasonry in the light that I want to portray it. When this happens I simply save the article into my documents and forget about it. I may eventually publish the articles down the line if I feel that I can reedit them to how I want, or if I feel that my previous fear was irrational. 

Regardless, my fear keeps me going. I write constantly because of my fear. I am afraid that the article may not be good enough for my audience. Making me turn around a different article in order to be better. My fear makes me strive to perfect my ashlar and work on my trestle board of writing. So, is fear necessarily a bad thing? 

The answer to that question is a double edged sword. Yes, it can be a good motivator in what ever you need to be motivated in. It can also cause harm. When we are so afraid to do something that we don’t do it, what opportunities did we miss out on? What in life are we allowing to pass us by? 

For example, I have been in the Army for close to eight years. I am now beginning my process of getting out and adjusting back into the civilian life that I once lived when I was a teenager. Of course, like anyone else growing up I have changed. My views on the world, my opinions, my skill set and everything else about me has changed since I was 17 years old. Not only have I changed but the way of the world has changed. When there were few jobs that I could get, now there are less. It can be very daunting for a Soldier to leave the Army and become a civilian once more, especially with the economy the way it is today. Even more so, what I would like to do when I get out of the Army just doesn’t offer the financial stability that I am used to working for Uncle Sam. 

The future is very daunting indeed, but that doesn’t mean I can just give up on what I want to do. Because of Freemasonry, I have gotten more into writing and that is exactly what I want to do. It can be a very fulfilling life and career, as long as you have you the support system that you need in order to be successful. I would dedicate most my time to researching Freemasonry, writing about it, writing different philosophies on life in regards to Freemasonry, writing my own novels and whatever else comes to mind. Yet, the fear of what will happen will always resonate in my mind and it makes me debate whether I want to reenlist or not. I can not allow that fear to get in the way. I may need to obtain some kind of job outside the Army to ensure I have stability, but one way or the other, I can not allow the fear of leaving what I have known hinder me from what could be. 

Brethren, because of my past experiences I have learned to not let my fears control me.   Because of Freemasonry, I have the opportunity to head forth into the darkness with no known knowledge of what I am heading into. I am equipped with all the tools of Freemasonry so that I can light the way for future brethren who wish to follow the path. I however encourage everyone to make their own path and use the tools that we are given within the craft to light the way, and leave no corner of the world in darkness. 


Bro. Aaron Gardner was raised as a Master Mason in his hometown lodge of Flushing, Michigan. He has served in active duty with the United States Army for the last seven years in which he has become well traveled around the world. He is currently stationed in Lawton, Oklahoma where he is a member of Triangle Lodge #548. When Bro. Gardner is not defending the nation, he takes great pride in writing articles for his blog Celestial Brotherhood, writing his fiction novel and researching all he can involving the Craft.


  1. "You have to remember, Fear is not real. It is a product of the thoughts You create. Don’t misunderstand me, Danger is very real. But Fear is a Choice."

    I have no idea where I found this quote, but I love the perspective it gives.

    Great piece, Brother! You certainly have paths in front of you that will lead to success. And many Brother's to be with you on your journey.

  2. Fear is a product of our imagination when we think about the future. It is a reaction to things that may or may not occur.

  3. I agree with Bro Brian that "Danger is very real however Fear is a Choice"
    Fear points out to our lack of trust of everything..
    When we trust our selves, abilities, choices and most important our Supreme Architect, Fear would never find its way to our hearts..