Staying connected with your Brothers during the dark seasonI'm finally at the age where I look forward to summer again. As a kid, it was like counting down the days until Christmas. "No more teachers, no more books. No more teachers dirty looks." I still remember those final days spent helping the teacher clean the classroom, watching movies, and enjoying the free air conditioning. Now that I'm firmly planted in my 40's, my body enjoys these warm summer days a little more each year. Winter with her ice and snow does a good job of getting my mind past the memories of bugs that sting, sunburns, and humidity that makes the boards on my deck bend.
As a Master Mason, summer means no more Lodge meetings. In exchange, I would get back two weeknights for a few months. While I look forward to enjoying Monday night dinners with my lady on our deck this time of the year, it's a bittersweet feeling knowing that I also won't be enjoying fellowship after meetings with my Brothers. No more ritual, no more meetings... but also no more of those random conversations on history, the meaning of life, or just the craziness of our daily lives. This year, I found with each passing meeting I was dreading having to say, "see you in September," to the most important guys in my life.
The promise of "this summer being different" started when I picked up a copy of "Born in Blood" for $5. Can you believe it?!?! I would have done a cartwheel if I knew how! I'm sure that one of the best rummage sale book finds was freshly donated from someone's basement. When I got to the halfway point in John J. Robinson's book where he begins to tease his belief in a connection with The Templars and Freemasonry, I found myself snapping photos of the pages to share in a text message with a fellow Brother. That's when it happened.
"Wow! I always wanted to read that book too.
I know. This is amazing! I love authors who write research books like this; it gives me something to do with my free time."
"You know, we should start a book club or something. It would be a cool way for us to get together still and talk about things this summer.
Really? A book club? Aren't we a little too young for that?
Yeah. We should call it a "summer reading group" or something! Hahahahahaha!"
Within an hour I had texted my other chat groups. "Hit me up with a private message if you want details. We're starting this week." There are three Brothers from my Lodge and one from another - that makes four. I started another Summer Masonic Reading group chat. "We'll meet on Wednesday night at my place. I'll make dinner - you guys bring over whatever you like. Here's the link to buy the first book. See you in two weeks." Before the end of the day, all three Brothers had ordered the title from Amazon; I suspect we'll all have the book read the day it arrives. The other cool thing, our group chat started flowing that night with those discussions on morality, symbolism, and the deeper meanings of our ritual that I have me crossing off the days on the calendar until our next Lodge meeting.
Stay cool and enjoy your summer. See you in September.
Bro. Michael Arce is a member of Mt. Zion #311, Troy, New York. When not in Lodge, Bro. Arce is the Marketing Manager for Capital Cardiology Associates in Albany, New York. He enjoys meeting new Brothers and hearing how the Craft has enriched their lives. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org