The entire history of a tree, year by year, can be read in the circular groves that mark its annular cycle; its growth rings. Dry years, wet years, health and affliction, a scattered wildfire, or a lightning strike, all can be defined in those annular recordings. Those unique slices of time. Trees like redwoods and sequoias could be hundreds of years old and scientists can read their history and something about the world they grew up in back in time.
How do we as Masons measure our growth rings? This year has been a year of challenge. A year of growth. For me, it has been about growing within myself. Trying to fill the Oriental Chair in the East as best I could. We’ve adapted to the changing world around us. The pandemic has taught us to change, to use that opportunity to explore new ways of staying connected. It has taught us to put our obligations to use for our Brothers and every other human being who needs our assistance. Our bonds have grown stronger between each other, with our families, and with the community.
We also know that as many Masons as there are, there are that many different perspectives. These topics usually turn into heated debates. In an effort to keep the peace and harmony of the Lodge, we do not talk about some of these topics. We know that there is a large gap between different sides of thought on these topics, but we are Masons. If one Brother needs assistance who thinks completely different than you, you are there for the Brother. Why? Is it the obligations we all took? Is it the loyalty we all feel for each other because we are Masons? I would say ‘yes’ to both of those, but moreover, there is an acceptance that my Brother is my Brother no matter what he believes. We should accept each other for who we are.
Acceptance is the ability to see that others have a right to be their own unique personality. That means having a right to their own feelings, thoughts, and opinions. When you accept people for who they are, you let go of your desire to change them. Acceptance is a powerful characteristic, it means regardless of who you are, what you believe, and how you would do something, you accept that some other person can be completely different.
Masons are compelled to dream, to imagine. You will never arrive, nor will you want to. For a true master, the joy of ever learning is an end in and of itself. Learning about the world around us, learning about each other, and most of all, learning about ourselves. So, enjoy the journey and when you find that singular focus, that thing you were created to do, your work will begin to speak to the world.
It is these qualities that brought us into that building; they are the characteristics we portray every day to not just those in the Lodge, but to everyone. Every human being has a claim upon your kind offices. That building we call a Lodge is a place where we are supposed to be safe: safe from judgment and ridicule. A place where we, as Brothers, work on ourselves – making ourselves better. We accept each other for all our faults and disagreements, and we use what we learn there and take ourselves out into the world.
That is what makes us Masons. That’s what makes the world a better place.
Worshipful Bro. Peter