I learned this adage was true myself when I was given the opportunity to meet a national disc jokey I had listened to since my early teens. I listened to his show on the radio every night, rarely would I miss it I loved it because his show was so funny.
When I had the chance to meet the man in person I realized he was a very quiet man who was just playing a role on the radio. In real life he was nothing like the zany guy on the radio. I still listened to the show afterwards but it was never the same. Or, maybe I wasn’t the same because I didn’t have the same perspective of this man any longer.
I could tell the part that bothered him the most was observing all the men who came before him in the East, who appeared comfortable in the job, calm cool and collected. They had it all together. But partly due to the previously mentioned drama many of these men were planning to quit the lodge or to just stop coming.
These Masters had assured him when it was his turn to sit in the Oriental chair they would be there to advise him and provide good and wholesome instruction. Sadly none of them fulfilled their promises to him and left him to “sink or swim” and he felt as though he was sinking. The poor guy felt abounded. “I really idolized these guys, Bill. How could they do this to me?”
I have often said “Masonry is a perfect institution. What screws it up is when human beings are introduced into it.” I’m sure each one of those brothers he had idolized pretty much had the same troubles and trials as he did but the difference was, all he could see was the public persona they portrayed which gave the perception that all is well and under control.
It’s never easy to watch the idol you placed upon a pedestal fall to the ground and shatter before your eyes. But I believe if you look to someone for advice and inspiration because of their insight or experience they can be a wealth of information as long as you remember that these people are human beings and have flaws, fears and prejudices just like yourself and everyone else. Then they became role models, not idols.
Remember Brotherly advice is always a good thing. But always remember it’s just that: Advice. It’s not meant to replace your plan. That isn’t leadership, it’s just following someone else’s designs from their trestle board. Take what advice is given to you and use your experience and judgment to create your plan of action.
It would have been easy to just walk away from all the drama and non-Masonic incidents you've had to endure this year. But you stayed in placed and made the best out of a bad situation. I’m here for you if you need me and I want you to know if I were to have a “Masonic idol” it would be you. You have true Masonry in your heart and I think you should hold your head high. I’m proud of you. Thank you for your service to the Fraternity.