I guess as one gets older they begin to reflect on life: Your future and the place from whence you came. It’s almost as if The Grand Architect has removed the hoodwink from your eyes and you begin to see everything that has been laid out for you. You begin to see how the decisions you made in the past has affected where you are, for the good or the bad, or maybe even both.
Not long ago I was in the middle of something and the wages of a Fellowcraft Corn, wine and oil which denotes “Plenty, Health and Peace” flashed into my mind. I have heard about these wages and the explanation for them hundreds of times while sitting in a lodge watching the degree being performed but I never really thought about them until that moment.
In my older mind these wages all or a sudden made total sense to me. Much like many things in Masonry the physical wages mentioned were nothing more than symbolism for the “secret” of to a happy life.
PLENTY: All my life I thought to have a great life a person had to be rich. I never truly believed the old phrase “Money doesn’t buy happiness” because I knew from experience poverty sure didn’t make me happy. So, I spent much of my youth and adult life trying to pursued wealth. Always dreaming of that one day I would have it all and I would finally be happy. A nice car, a big house and lots of cash so I could do anything I wanted. I really thought a person couldn’t be happy unless he was extremely wealthy.
Today I am far from rich. And I realize I never will be. And honestly, I am OK with that. It took me years to realize it wasn’t wealth beyond my wildest dreams I was in pursuit of it was plenty!
I have never been a person who was impressed by name brands in clothing or a flashy car with a status filled logo a large mansion with a sauna or room for a pony, so my fixation on wealth never really made sense but, in my zeal, to build a large bank account I just wanted enough to make sure I had all the things I truly needed. A nice, comfortable home that was warm in the winter, cool in the summer and in good repair. I wanted to ensure I could purchase what food my family needed so they could be healthy and well fed and a nice car which would get to my destination without constantly breaking down or needing costly repairs. What I truly wanted was plenty!
HEALTH: As I keep accumulating more birthdays and what hair I have left begins to gray I realize how important my health is to me. Much like the old joke that said “If I knew I would live to be this old I would have taken better care of myself!” I have begun to understand what being healthy means to a person.
In my younger years I never knew the definition of “Temperance” or “Moderation”. I ate anything I wanted and drank anything I wanted with no limits. People tried to whisper good council in my ear but I pushed them away. To this day I truly don’t know why I abused my body in such a terrible way. Maybe I was trying to fill a void of something I was missing in my life. Someday day I may know but today all I see is the devastation my actions have left.
Today thanks to the “Ghosts of my past” I have several medical issues that result from this period. Don’t get me wrong I could be in worse shape but these problems have taught me what a blessing good health is and how one should strive to maintain it.
PEACE: From the time I was a small boy I lived in a home which there was little peace and harmony. I grew up a shack in the middle of town with a yard full of broken down cars and piles of junk scattered around various places. The house might have been structurally sound but gave the appearance it was always in disrepair. Many of the towns residents looked down on my family.
My father who was an alcoholic would drink all evening until he would pass out. Until he fell asleep he would usually yell and have the house in turmoil, spouting out verbal abuse to myself and my siblings and on occasion he would be physically abusive. We would constantly hear my mother and him argue, usually about his drinking, the condition of the house or other things. The scars of childhood still effect myself and my siblings in many ways. I don’t say these things to make excuses but because of the way we were raised I believe we didn’t know how to live a normal life or lay a good foundation for adulthood.
Not really having a sound foundation to build a life on I made a lot of mistakes in my personal relationships. I got in situations that were as toxic and the childhood home I grew up in. Mot of my life I searched for the place that would truly make me happy. It wasn’t until I found my lady whom I am in a relationship with now I truly discovered happiness and peace.
I can honestly say I am now happier than I have dreamed I ever would be. Discovering Plenty, health and peace has lead me to a place of calm and positivity, a place I would never have imagined I could ever find.
Upon this discovery part of me regretted not finding these things earlier in my life. I started to think about the middle chamber lecture in the Fellowcraft degree which teaches a newly obligated Brother he climbs those winding stairs learning about all the liberal arts and sciences until he reaches the top of the stairs and receives his wages. Maybe instead of looking at the physical wages and begin to look at what these wages denote we would find the true “secrets” of this degree which is the secret to life and happiness.