I happened across an advertisement for a backyard-sized commercial smoker, used, for just over half of the retail price. Of course, you know I purchased it. Uh oh, now I have to move this beast that weighs well over 300 pounds across half the state of Missouri. I reached out to a few friends and Brothers, and within hours I had a crew of Andrew, Jason, and Elieser confirmed to make a 6-hour excursion to retrieve and install a rather large charcoal smoker. A huge shout out of thanks to Brother Glenn who let me borrow his trailer.
The crew came together from several different parts of my life, and they hadn’t previously met. This was surprising to me as I don’t consider my life to be compartmentalized, but it just happened that way. The crew was introduced, we drove through a Mcdonald's for an early breakfast on the road, and the crew got to know each other over the miles as we drove to pick up the smoker. This turned out to be less of a chore than expected, as the smoker was well designed with oversized wheels and easy handles to use for maneuvering. We strapped it down to the trailer so well it would make a loadmaster proud, and the conversation on the way back was even better than the initial meet-n-greet.
I am blessed to have such friends and Brothers, and these gentlemen displayed teamwork and applied their experience in many ways. They assessed the situation, observed obstacles to be overcome, removed or remedied the obstacles, created a plan to move forward, and executed the plan with only one minor adjustment made on the fly. I couldn’t be prouder to showcase such dedication and teamwork in relating to this event, and I believe it applies to our everyday Masonic objectives.
We Masons meet with a bonding of fraternal ties. We work together within this fraternity, doing together what we as individuals may struggle to accomplish. We make something greater than the sum of the parts of our individuality. There showcases the lesson.
Just as my Brothers and friends came together to assist me in a task, we took away something greater than the task itself. We took away an experience, a moment in time, where we met, found commonality and friendship, and worked together to accomplish a goal. I see the need in Freemasonry to approach membership in committees in the same light. I see the need to partner with our Grand Officers, Masters, and Wardens in the same light. I see the need to partner with our external outreach to charity and other functions in that same light of teamwork and joy.
The other message of “just show up” also came to me. We four came together on a cool, crisp morning to work together in teamwork helping accomplish something that one, me, would have struggled to accomplish alone. Whether it be manning the booth at a county fair, helping cook spaghetti or pancakes, or sitting at a table to hand out promotional materials, it matters not. Our gift is the fraternity of working with each other to be part of the greater good.
The smoker’s first firing was excellent. As I work to master the design, the venting, and the baffles, I also make the plans to invite Andrew, Jason, and Eli over to sample the tasty results of their efforts. I believe we should rethink how committees and groups are meeting in this busy world. We should consider meeting over dinner or at least meeting socially while focusing on the goal of the meeting. The rewards of the efforts, while in the fraternity of the task, should always be recognized and celebrated too, right?