We Must Find Time in Masonry

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Rob Walk Jr. 

I should sit down while inspiration strikes hot.

It’s been a while since you’ve heard from the Newly Made Master Mason.  I have moved back to my hometown in Central Pennsylvania, with my wife and two cats.  I settled back down into my Grandfather’s old home, two bedrooms, and an open loft.  Beautiful place out in the country.

When we moved back, I went back to my old dialysis clinic in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania and applied for employment as a dialysis technician.  By this time, I had already been in this particular career for four years.  All of the poking people with giant pencil needles you could ever desire.  It wore me out, and very quickly at that.   I came home from my 16 hour days, plopped on my recliner, said a few words to my wife, and fell asleep without a wink.

Needless to say, this became very old, very quickly.  So, I decided to search around for a new career.  I had thought about going back to school for nursing, journalism, entrepreneurialism, hotel management, all of the usual stuff people go to college for.  I even took a single class in computer programming, which kicked my butt to the curb, and I fell hard on my rear end.

Then I came across an idea, proposed by W:.B:. Lance Kates.  He said, “why not go to barber college?”  For whatever reason, the idea hit me just right at the time.  I took a week and visited a few barbershops, got my hair cut, and a couple of face shaves.  Did it ever ring my bell.  This was it.  I absolutely had to do this.  I googled barber schools around the mid-state, and came upon Barber Styling Institute, which is in the very same town my dialysis clinic is located.  Perfect timing, perfect location, perfect sign.

I decided to call.  My anticipation strong, and my heart sure, Matt Schwalm, the owner, picked up the phone, and I asked him about the program.  “Why don’t you come on in, and check out the school?”  It was literally one half hour after I googled the school that I was there, anxiously looking around at all of the students cutting like professionals already.  “Hi, I’m looking for Matt.”

“Oh, I’m Matt!”  I looked the man up and down.  He’s surely not what you’d expect out of an instructor of any sort.  Urban style boots, barber jacket, and a crazy hairdo like I had never seen in my life.  You could describe it as sort of…globe shaped.  “Here, let me show you around.”  We walked past a few of the students, I looked left and right, and up and down, absolutely scared to death that I was being judged deeply by these people.  “Everybody, this is Rob.”

“Hey, Rob!”  These people seemed so kind and accepting, but my animal instincts were kicking in and I was feeling rather shy.  To make a very long story short, I walked out of his office with a start date of two days later.  I would be cutting hair…you guessed it…due to this very Brotherhood.

Now, the real point of this story is about time.  Aren’t we taught about this in the very first degree?  We must, as Masons, learn to divide our time equally.  Please think about this with me for a moment.  If you were to work 16 hours a day, three days a week, what does that bring you to?  48 hours.  On top of this time, I must also be at the clinic on my off days at 03:00 to disinfect the water loop.  This generally takes 3.5 hours.  So we’re really adding on 7 hours on top of that…that’s 2 days per week.  Total, I find myself 55 hours a week at dialysis.

So, I started at the barber school, and eventually worked out a regular schedule.  I would come in on my off days, stay all day, and go to work the very next day.  25 hours a week at school is really not very much.  To complete the program in one year, that’s what I would have to accomplish.

Needless to say, this Mason has some real trouble dividing his time equally.  Even on Sundays I cut hair, at my home, for free while I’m a student.  My solution to this problem was not a simple one, but something that we should all indeed keep in mind.  Freemasonry is one thing.  Masonry is another entirely.  Are we not charged with bringing Masonry into every aspect of our lives?  I will tell you that every morning I step into that barbershop my gut drops, my shoulders lower, and my deep-seated headache will all fall away.  This is my place of relief, of rest and relaxation.

Bro. Rob Walk doing the good work!
Just as well, this is my time to work for Deity.  Performing the great work that has already been laid bare before us to assume, live and be creative.  This is my new church.  Making gentlemen, and a few ladies, look good enough to go out into the world and feel good about themselves.  Positive outlooks create positive lives.

And work?  Soon, this will be my work.  It is a Great Work.  Please do not think that I mean THE Great Work here.  That is something to be discovered by the individual Mason, and not something that can simply be imparted by the ritual we perform in the Lodge Hall.  There is no doubt in my mind that I will be cutting hair until I’m laid to rest, and return to the Celestial Lodge above.  This is my life, my passion and my contribution to this world.

To have found the resolve to continue with my study in barbering and Masonry was no little task.  I’m never home, with my wife, my family.  However, within everything in life there is Masonry for the dutiful Speculative Mason.

Stay strong, work hard, and make time for that which is needed, my Brothers.  I will see you all back in Lodge in exactly 6 months and 5 days.  At that time, I will strive to be able to “take the chair,” and make proud my Brethren who have had my back through these tough months.

Bro. Rob Walk Jr.  is a member of Jephthah Lodge No. 222, A.F.&A.M. in Essex, Maryland.  Currently living in Central Pennsylvania, he is seeking membership with a lodge there.  He spends his time listening to music, sampling craft beer, climbing and drumming.  Barbering being his main work, he currently cuts at his home, and will soon be cutting under the managership of Drew Matos at Southpaw Barbershop in Lemoyne, PA.


  1. Dig, Brother!

    Great article and I am so happy for you. Not many people are lucky enough to find a calling that is fulfilling to them. I know the schedule may be a little tight and overwhelming, but the reward is going to be worth it.

  2. Any Brother who can take joy from serving his fellow man knows the true meaning of earning a Master's Wage...


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