|Degree Cast at Scottish Rite Valley of Danville (IL) greeting candidates|
But the thing I enjoy the most, is watching the candidates. I remember sitting where they are. I remember watching some of these degrees for the first time, unsure what lesson I was supposed to be learning, and then suddenly realizing what the degree was teaching. A light would suddenly come on as I watched the degree, I’d begin to think of how I needed to apply that lesson to my own life. And as I’ve watched these degrees over and over again over the years, and participated in many of them, I continue to take away lessons I previously missed in these degrees—lessons I can apply to my everyday life.
The light doesn’t come on for everyone. For some Masons, what they experience in their Blue Lodges and in their Valleys, and in their York Rite Chapters, Councils, and Commanderies fills them with the desire to learn more, to improve themselves, and to apply the principles of Masonry to their lives—to actually do the work on themselves. For other Masons, they’re simply experiencing a degree, or watching a stage play.
|Midnight Freemasons attending Valley of Danville Spring Reunion left to right: Greg Knott, Todd Creason, Steve Harrison, Brian Pettice, and Darin Lahners|
It’s the ones that get it that I’m always trying to pick out of the class. Those are the men that will take what they learn and apply it every part of their life. They will become better husbands. Better fathers. They will become important leaders in their communities, and role models and examples for others. And without a doubt they are the future of the Fraternity.
A friend of mine said that some people see Freemasonry in the same way they see repainting their dining room walls. They go through some degrees, they slap a bumper sticker on their car and a ring on their finger, they buy a suit and tie, and think they’re a Freemason. But nothing changes on the inside. Freemasonry is like buying an old house, and gutting it down to the rafters, and remodeling it from the basement to the attic.
If Freemasonry doesn’t change you on the inside, you aren’t experiencing it in the way in which it was intended.