Thursday, November 24, 2011

Having Plenty to be Thankful For

Given that a year ago I was recovering from dysentery in Afghanistan and was actually discharged on Thanksgiving back to my camp, I am very thankful this year for a lot of things.

I had surgery on the 17th on my right hand to correct a fracture that never healed correctly during my deployment last year. It has been painful, but at least I am going through it here in San Antonio with family and friends, and not in a combat zone, so I am thankful for that.

This has been a year of transition both as a warfighter and as mason. My seemingly marathon of deployments has finally ended and I have started living a normal life again. I came back in June to my motherlodge that told me that my services as a Mason were not needed, that my profession and status as a reservist was too volatile. Ironically at the same time I was contacted by my other lodge that I have plural membership with and was asked to be a member of the lineup, to which I said yes, and everything started again.

I was installed on the 24th of July as Senior Steward three weeks later I was awarded the Bronze Star for my service in Afghanistan and I had started my civilian job again, life was telling me to move on, and I have. For all of the Past Masters that were thrown into the Senior Warden’s chair and then sitting in the east I am thankful to go through the chairs in a natural progression and not accelerate to the east in an unnatural manner. There is comfort that a man can take away from preparing and feeding his brother Mason. It’s far more work than one thinks, until they have served in that slot, but it has its rewards and brings me a sense of accomplishment Masionically that I haven’t had in a long time.

I am thankful in 2011 for the following:

I am thankful for my family and friends

I am thankful for my second chance in Freemasonry, and the comfort it has brought me

I am thankful for my civilian job and being employed

I am thankful to be alive and to be able to continue my journey here on earth

When I returned in June I had a lot of guilt coming home alive, like I didn’t do enough. I survived 70+ combat missions and have seen my share of lost soldiers. I think of them on any four day weekend, or holiday. But we all must keep on living, sorrow is no way to live life.

Happy Thanksgiving my brothers, Happy Thannksgiving.




Eli Wilkerson said...


I found your blog by accident, reviewed your posts. I understand your frustrations with returning back from Afghanistan. I just recently returned back from there as well. I served in the Kunar Province with a mission to build/re-build the local government. I had plenty of frustrations working with the locals and enough close calls for one life time.

From The USA, to Manas, to Baghram, to Jalalabad, to Asadabad, to my Combat Out Post, I smoked cigars and combat patrolled with brothers. Once, I returned back to Texas, my brothers greeted my with open arms and I put myself to work in my lodges.

I encourage you to keep up the good work and always remember your foundations, principal tenets, the cardinal virtues. Keep your faith, continue to hope for better, and bless those around you with charity and respect.

If you are ever around the panhandle stop by the lodges.

Bro Eli Wilkerson
Palo Duro Lodge #1239 AF & AM
Amarillo Lodge #731 AF & AM
Amarillo Commandery #48

"To Think, is to Live." -- M.T. Cicero