Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Richard - My Brother, Friend, and Mentor

I am currently in Colorado visiting my family and my in-laws, having Christmas in Colorado was way overdue as I haven't saved up enough PTO to make the trip in the last two years, this year given the looming deployment, we packed up the dogs and headed north.

The day we arrived in Colorado is when I found out the news that our Scretary, Richard was in ICU and things didn't look good. All last week and during Christmas Mass I was thinking and praying for my dear friend Richard. He is going through chemo for lung cancer treatment. He was having a rough time, had become dehydrated to the point that his kidney's shut down and he was admited to the hospital. Yesterday I got the news from Bro Bill that he was moved from ICU to a regular hospital bed and was awake. When I called him, he was disoriented and just wanted to go home, I felt helpless here in Colorado, while he was laying in a hospital bed in San Antonio.

Richard is the kind of Mason that we should all be, he didn't play politics, but is heavily involved in the higher degrees of the York Rite and the Allied Masonic Degrees (he couldn't come to my initation because of his chemo treatment). But with all of that his best love is the blue lodge. He is a past master, but didn't try to run the show. He always wants to do what's best for the lodge. He challenged me to start Masonic education, and he also inspired me to start our lodge's website, and worked with me the entire time.

I hope that my brother, my friend and my mentor Richard has a quick recovery, and that he will be sitting in lodge during my January Masonic Education talk.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Alamo and the Last Class of Emblems

This past Friday was the annual visit of the Grand Master of Texas to Alamo Lodge #44 which is a tyled meeting held inside the Alamo. This is the first official visit of the GM to a lodge after his move to the Grand East. Last year was my first time taking part of the visit, and while it is memorable and somewhat moving to meet there, it can be somewhat uncomfortable if you show up alone, being the sole representative of your lodge. This year it was somewhat of a stretch for me to attend, Thursday while on Active Duty I was given my official tasking for the upcoming deployment along with training dates and found out that after the new year I will spend a grand total of 5 out of the next 13 weeks at home due to training requirements. Needless to say that on Friday my mind was elsewhere than the Grand Masters visit to the Alamo.

This time was different, as I would be meeting a newly raised Master Mason from Round Rock (North Austin area) who was just raised on 28 October. He and I were both unable to attend Grand Lodge, I wasn’t able to because I had drill that weekend. Still, he wanted to come down and I was more than happy to host him in my adoptive home city. We meet up around 1830 and discussed the news of the day and about the same Masonic Discussion board that we frequent. After that we made our way with the crowd to the Alamo. There we waited outside and meet brothers from other areas and neighboring lodges.

After the opening of the meeting my mind was racing about how I was going to finish up everything before my life gets put on hold and I start my all expenses paid trip to Afghanistan. They had a moment of silence in the chapel for the fallen soldier’s of the Alamo. I started to think about the journey and lesson that Freemasonry, the journey that man makes from birth to death. These lessons have a greater impact during our various phases in life, the Fellowcraft for instance reminds men of their responsibilities towards each other and their fellow man for the betterment of mankind. Yet during the lecture of the Masters Degree we are reminded constantly of ours and everyone fate, the grave. The men that died at the Alamo, knew this better than most men as they most likely felt death at their backs the entire time, whether they survived or not. Then I thought of the Last Class of Emblems, which are very poignant on this subject.

The silence was broken by the gavel of the WM which startled me out of my deep thoughts, and yielded the floor to the GM. The speech this year was not as caustic as last year, and the GM said that all of us were leaders, and we need to lead by example in both Freemasonry and in life. I completely agree with this stance, and have found that as an officer leading by example is the most effective way to lead men and women, both through expletory behavior and technical knowledge.
After lodge we ate hot tamales’ and talked to the older brothers, later on I went downstairs and attended the Grotto meeting, we were having elections, as you all are aware I am entirely too young to ever hold office in the Grotto. :)