Willing or Willfull?

by Midnight Freemason Emeritus Contributor
Bro. Erik Marks

In preparing to present for the December Lodge of Instruction (LOI), I began to think about the start of my masonic career. I was asked repeatedly and in a variety of ways if I was joining without coercion and if it was my sincere wish to be a mason, to accept the mantle and work it implied. Was I willing or willfully resistant? 

As I pondered for preparation and planning for LOI, I encountered my own willful resistance to the process and of presenting. I had to admit to myself where I was willfully resisting an aspect of my life, of reality. My willfulness was a barrier I placed in front of my ability to change: it is the roughness needing smoothing before I will be able to place this stone. I had to either approach the effort of planning with a willing mindset or decline the honor altogether. 

Recently, a dear brother asked if I was “over my writer’s block.” This was his gentle and generous way of inviting me to contribute without pressure or seeming challenge. Stated this way, I was left undefended against the powerful admonishment to bettering myself. Stated another way: will you remain willfully resistant, Erik, or are you willing to contribute? 

So here I am, Brother. Willing. I recognize in myself the errors of my initial agreement to write. These were self-aggrandizement and one-sidedness of ego (an imbalance I can discuss more off-blog for those interested in the conversation). Further, if I am to change myself for the better, I have to be willing to honor your request despite my grievances with my Self and subdue my passions. Moreover, it is my willingness to move through those grievances with Chisel and Gavel, to work to set myself right. 

And so, this is my challenge to us all, in any given moment, are we willing, or willfully resistant? To listen? To understand? To care? To love? To engage, thoughtfully? To subdue our passions (read: reactivity)? For me, this question is foundational in Freemasonry: Do we bring ourselves fully to this precious life and willingly look deeply inward to break off that which does not serve humanity and world?


Brother Erik Marks is a clinical social worker whose usual vocation has been in the field of human services in a wide range of settings since 1990. He was raised in 2017 by his biologically younger Brother and then Worshipful Master in Alpha Lodge in Framingham, MA. You may contact brother Marks by email: erik@StrongGrip.org

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