Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Rough Road to Reintegration in Freemasonry

When you get back from a deployment from a combat zone, you are constantly told the concerns about reintegration. Most notably they worry about how you are going to interact with your family, your friends and your co-workers. That reintegration was for the most part smooth for me, I returned to work in December, started to go to drill in January, and life was starting to move at a normal pace. My patience with people has gotten back to its normal levels, so overall it’s been pretty smooth, except for my reintegration back into Lodge.

Rejoining the Masonic brotherhood has been the hardest part in adjusting back to civilian life.

While I was deployed I often thought long and hard about Freemasonry and would read the monitor, and reflect the most on the first three degrees, the Knights of Malta and of course the Order of the Temple. When I returned there was nothing more that I wanted than to sit and have those familiar staples of dinner w/ the lodge, then retiring to the lodge room for some work. I alluded to it earlier, about the when I returned to lodge a week after returning to the states. I guess after much reflection I realized the contributing factors (and ongoing factors) in trying to find out what has changed, and why I just can’t feel comfortable at my mother lodge. First my lodge has had an influx of new brothers since about August, this seems to be happening due to increase in community activity and involvement with the local Army post. These men didn’t know me, I didn’t know them and so there seem to be an almost stand-offnish attitude between the both of us, this of course normally (and it has) breaks down if someone sees you often enough

The second factor is that first meeting when I returned the WM did not extend to me any recognition of my safe return from my deployment. While this sounds self-important but everywhere else; work, home, my guard unit did this, and they were my co-workers/friends not my brothers. I was later told that this didn’t happen do to the attention that was being given to an upcoming event. After my first meeting at the lodge I didn’t go back until January.

Returning again things really didn’t change, I was then involved in deep reflection, did I move on from Freemasonry or did it move on from me? I decided to return to the one thing that has always brought me solace within the Fraternity, the Work. My mentor invited me to start the work again, and I was starting to realize that re-learning (or dusting out the cobwebs) seems to be the initial step in reinvigorating my path in Freemasonry.

Will this work? I don’t know for sure, today we have three EA degrees (like I said, we have had a huge influx of members), I have been offered the part of Senior Warden, and with some practice this week I am ready (as I will ever be) to start being more active again.

I am as always open to your suggestions and will try to do a better job of updating my progress.


-Bro Vick


AlamoJack said...

Brother Vick,

As a fellow veteran, brother, Companion, and Sir Knight, I wish to belatedly welcome you home and thank you for sacrificing many months of your life for others. I wish your reception at your lodge had been warmer. I know many brothers, including myself, that wish we had the opportunity to meet and thank you in person.

Br. Jack

Jay Simser said...

This is a problem in Lodges. Especially larger Lodges. I went to a small Lodge today for a couple of second degrees. At the end of the meeting they went around the room and introduced themselves so the new Fellow Crafts would know who the Brothers were. It was a warm feeling and everyone felt welcome. In one of my Lodges (I belong to two) we had a Brother leave the Lodge because (as he put it) He might just as well have not been there - No one spoke to him. It is in many ways a cold place. In my other Lodge we keep the number small on purpose and we have a lot of "face time" going out to eat together and having educational papers. It is the richest Lodge experience I have ever had.

Robert G. Davis said...

Your post moves me to suggest that there is one thing we Americans should take from the European lodge model; the fact that it is a rare thing for a lodge in other countries to have more than 50 members. Small lodges are like small communities. Everyone knows everyone well. Everyone is important. Everyone matters.

Bro. Vick, I'm saddened that you were not given a welcome home by your lodge Brothers. Perhaps you have not felt the close brotherhood that is enjoyed in many smaller lodges because the men in your lodge have not yet caught on to the power of fraternity. I pray that you can change that. It is an intimate relationship that exists in very few venues in our culture. As fraternal brothers, we all need to embrace it.

Robert Davis

Obadiah Storm said...

As soon as the new brothers see you escorting in apprentices your position will be solidified again. Welcome home and thank you so much for your service, as a brother and a soldier!

Kansas Scout said...

Welcome home my Brother. It's regrettable that your Lodge was remiss in recognizing your return. Shame on them!
I hope you will give them a chance to make this up to you. Your plan to reintegrate into your Lodge is a good plan. Reach out to others and don't wait for them to start. If that does not work then it's time to look for a new home but please try the home Lodge first. Good Luck