With apologies to The Eagles....
Well I'm a-runnin' down the road
Tryin' to loosen my load
I've got seven LODGES on my mind
Four that wanna own me
Two that wanna stone me
One says she's a friend of mine
The other day I was listening to The Eagles while driving. While this isn’t unusual, the accompanying thoughts on recent esoteric education I delivered became amusing. Several lodges, chapters, councils, etc. in my region are in various stages of merger talks, and I delivered my Lodge Anatomy lecture. Thinking back, I probably hit on a few sore spots with some attendees of that onsite district meeting, because we discussed the need for more deep thought and consideration during any decision-making process. I like to say play chess, not checkers. Consider the consequences two or three moves down the road for every individual. Better yet, directly engage the individuals for their opinions and reactions. I regret any irritation I might have caused by any attendee thinking I was singling them out. Quite the opposite! I always point back to myself as the rough ashlar in need of some work.
Over the next week, my amusement turned inward to contemplate where I fit into this bigger picture, and I often wonder about how we as individual Masons might help other lodges or Brothers in need more effectively. I later realized I took the contemplation toward chess and checkers on myself, and I needed it. Sometimes like the Eagles song, we just need to loosen our mental load and take things easy on ourselves. Sometimes we just need to release our emotions and let someone give us a hand, even if it’s not a girl in a flatbed Ford.
This contemplation continued over a few days finally shifting toward gratitude toward my fellow Masons for allowing me to assist even in small ways. Then, after all the back and forth, I realized it was all about gratitude. Deep down we seem to be drawn toward those who demonstrate gratitude. Maybe not in the most overt ways, and there are plenty of arguments against the current climate of virtue signaling. What I’m talking about is the inner sense when you just know that someone demonstrates gratitude in what they say and do. Their actions demonstrate kindness and humility. They work without worrying about credit and rewards. They quietly demonstrate their leadership even without being in a leadership role. They got the message on how to get from emotional circumscription to quiet contemplation to gratitude all via humility. I’m still on my journey, and here is my gratitude to the many of you who demonstrate these qualities along with those of us still working on our ashlars.
When we put our true selves out there for others to see, which lodges are going to want to own you, stone you, or claim you as a friend? What does that mean to you?
Bro. Randy and his wife Elyana live in O'Fallon, MO just outside of St. Louis. Randy earned a Bachelors in Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry, and he works in telecom IT. He volunteers his time as a professional and personal mentor, is an NRA certified Chief Range Safety Officer, and enjoys competitive tactical pistol. He has a 30+ year background teaching Wing Chun Kung Fu, Chi Kung, and healing arts. Randy's Masonic bio includes lodge education officer of two blue lodges, running the Wentzville Lodge Book Club, active in York Rite AMD, Scottish Rite Valley of St. Louis co-librarian, Clerk of the Academy Of Reflection through the Valley of Guthrie, a trained facilitator for the Masonic Legacy Society. As a pre-COVID-19 pioneer in Masonic virtual education, Randy is an administrator of Refracted Light and an international presenter on esoteric topics. Randy enjoys facilitating and presenting Masonic esoteric education, and he hosts an open, weekly Masonic virtual Friday Happy Hour. Randy is an accomplished home chef, a certified barbecue judge, raises Great Pyrenees dogs, and enjoys travel and philosophy.