Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Part I – The History

Part I – The History

I have been blogging since 2000, not the oldest on the internet by any means, but have been doing it for long enough that it has become a part of my life. I have another blog for my day to day life, and in there I will make brief mention of my Masonic journey. But, I know those people aren’t interested in reading post after post about my Masonic journey, and my frustrations and revelations.

Revelation part won’t be documented, but I want to talk as much as I can about the process, members of my lodge and my fresh eye perspective on a lodge that was chartered in 1915 with 281 members.

My grandfather was an active Mason, he wasn’t a member of any of the associated rites or a Shriner, he was a blue lodge man. He attended blue lodge meetings and enjoyed their brotherhood, but never felt it necessary to go beyond the first three degrees. As a child my parents divorced when I was seven the first three years after the divorce a lot of time was spent with my maternal grandparents. My mother went back to school to learn typing and other skills necessary for the work force and she was given sole custody of us. My father had very limited visitation of Sunday afternoons and Thursday evenings (I still to the day can’t figure this one out). So the majority of my time was spent in my grandparent’s house. My great uncles were all jewelers and Masons, and so they would periodically give my grandfather rings, cufflinks, tie tabs, etc as birthday presents and what not. He would wear them and I never understood their significance, nor really thought to ask. Actually at the time I thought it had something to do with his Realtor dealings as when he retired from being an Automotive Engineer became a realtor to pass the time and earn some extra cash.

It wasn’t till I was 17 that I found out that Masons was a fraternity, it was that year that Grandpa received his 50 year certificate and went through the ceremony with his brothers in attendance. He was so proud of that day that he would talk about it for the next six months. I guess his attitude toward the Masons intrigued me.

My grandfather died when I was 19, and it was painful to go through, because it did feel like I lost a father of sorts. He was stern, all about business, but he had a gentle side that when it came out, made me enamored with him. I had no intentions of being a Mason, and when he died it was honestly the last thing on my mind. Sometimes I read of men that when their grandparent or father dies, the next week they rush out to be made a Mason, and that was far the case from me. I didn’t really have a good understanding of my relationship with God and the last thing I needed to do was join a lodge of old judgmental men, I was 19, I needed to make my own mistakes.

So time passed I went to college @ age 21 and majored in Electrical Engineering, joined a fraternity (Lambda Chi Alpha), and during that time felt like it fell flat on the brotherhood and building of men and was more about partying and women. I guess I wanted that Masonic bond I perceived my grandfather had, but went to the wrong place to find it.

After college I joined the military as an Officer and Communications Engineer, again thoughts of fraternity and joining the Masons was the last thing on my mind. I was traveling all over the world and serving my country. Then two events happened to me that led me to the Craft. The United States Air Force decided that it only needed half the people it currently had in my career field, and I was in essence laid off, for no other reason than my commissioning source (Officer Training School). In August of 2006 my grandmother died. When we cleaned out all of my grandmother’s belongings we came across all of my grandfather’s Masonic jewelry that was given to him over the years. The flood of memories of him wearing that came to me and I really wanted to take them back to Texas. I again, didn’t think about joining, but my idiot cousin didn’t care and most likely they would have ended up at Goodwill, and it seemed such a shame. So when I got home, I started to try to do research on the internet, and went to the place any good 21st century man does, and consults Wikipedia. That not being enough information about the history or what Freemasonry is, I went onto the infamous “A Page About Freemasonry” which was geared more towards current Mason’s, and had little information on the past and seemed more geared towards if you wanted to join, what to do, and a whole lot of information on what was referred to as “One Day Classes”.

Looking around more I saw that the internet was full of people that hated Freemasons, people that were members and adored freemasonry, but didn’t like its current state. So I went to a half priced bookstore and bought a book about that author’s version of Freemasonry. Now, every person that’s a Historian who is a Freemason has their own version of history. From it being from the start of time, to those that believe it really wasn’t organized till 1717, still this book was decent, and the author had enough humility to admit when the lines were blurred, or at the most, fanciful. After reading it I was ready to take the next step, and contact a local lodge. I guess reading the rich history, coupled with my family’s involvement made me want to take that next step and see a lodge.

1 comment:

Mark said...

I am reading your posting in October of 2007, quite some time after you posted it, but I felt I wanted to mention a few things about it.

First of all, thank you very much for letting people know how you happened to be involved in Freemasonry. I have never understood why people seem to say so little about it. If we expect people to understand anything about Masonry, we need to tell them something about it.

Second, I was very much touched by what you had to say: the connection to family; looking for something that would build brotherhood and stand for something; the odd nature of Masonic literature.

I look forward to reading the rest of your entries.