Back on May 13, I wrote about my "conversion on the road to Damascus" that happened earlier that day, when my anger towards Bro. Grady Bozeman and the events he and others set up against me in my lodge just lifted, vanished, disappeared.
It's been nearly two weeks, and not once have I had even a moment of anger towards or about anything. Not a single time have I felt that once-common emotion. Not towards traffic. Not towards people who can't figure out self-checkouts at the grocery store. Not towards jealous drama queens (I'm single). Not towards my ex-wife (I'm divorced). Not towards the neighbor's three dogs that bark all night. Not about the news. And certainly not towards anyone from my lodge.
It's as if I've been "enlightened."
But as the Zen proverb goes: "Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water."
Life goes on.
(I notice that only two readers here who participated in the "Who are you?" poll said they were members of my lodge. I was one of them, since I clicked on it when I installed it to test it. I know who the other one was. So I guess it's safe to assume — LOL! — that no one else from my lodge reads this blog, so nothing I say here could possibly hurt anyone's feelings.
No, seriously — I know several of my lodge brothers follow the Taper; I wonder why they won't admit it.)
In my May 13 post, I said I would be going back to my lodge. And I did, last Tuesday evening.
I put on my happy face and pretended it was again 2003, when I absolutely loved going to lodge meetings. Even then I knew I was different from many of my lodge brothers, that I was more interested in esoterica and Masonic history and Masonic education than many of them. I also knew how much alike, as humans, we all were. I enjoyed the feeling of brotherhood and camaraderie.
I arrived about 10 minutes before the meeting was scheduled to start. Only one brother, a Past Master of the lodge, was in the anteroom. He was tying on his apron, so I tied on my own. I greeted him warmly, but we didn't shake hands. He said "hello" and quickly went into the lodgeroom.
I walked into the lodgeroom, where perhaps 25-30 brothers were either milling around or already seated. I greeted each of those already seated in the southwest end of the lodge with a big smile and handshake. Many were new faces to me. Two of my elderly brothers-friends beamed when they saw me. It was a good feeling.
At the end of the row, just west of the Junior Warden's chair, was a Past Master, one of the three involved in what I termed "The Masonic Ambush" back in early 2005. I smiled at him and greeted him by name, prefacing it with "Brother."
In what I can only describe as a sighing, exasperated, eye-rolling slump he reluctantly shook my hand and said "hey" (or "hi" or "hello," I can't remember).
Bypassing the empty Junior Warden's station, I approached the second and third members of the ambush squad. I smiled and greeted them. The first acted very pleased to see me. The second had a look of outright hatred or disgust when he saw me, and didn't speak. I shook his hand anyway.
Before I could move further down the line, the first of the two Past Masters said to me, "What's this about you putting stuff on the Internet? Didn't you put something there recently?"
I assumed he'd heard about my article where I said I didn't like Bro. Bozeman and that he didn't like me. "I write something online nearly every day," I replied.
"You shouldn't. You shouldn't be talking about Masonry. It's bad! It's bad! It's bad for Masonry."
"I happen to think it's good for Freemasonry."
"You shouldn't be talking about Masonry to the public. It's bad!"
He then recited, "I will not speak ill of a brother Master Mason...."
"I only write things that are true. That's not speaking ill of...."
"Yes, it is," he blurted.
"How many ill things have you said about me in the past 18 months, Bro. _____?" I asked.
He froze. For two or three seconds he didn't respond.
Then he said, "Two wrongs don't make a right."
About that time, the Worshipful Master banged his opening gavel, so I sat back and smiled.
I was glad to be back.
I was very impressed with the dignity and authority of this year's Worshipful Master. I had served on his investigating committee, and he had followed me through the chairs. He was Senior Deacon when I was Junior Warden. I was proud of him.
I didn't know any of the floor officers.
I had served as Master during the EA degree for the man acting as Junior Warden. It was good to see how he had progressed.
It was a nice homecoming feeling for me.
The meeting itself was typical, but I did have to smile to myself a couple of times.
There were several new brothers there, both newly raised and newly dimitted from other jurisdictions. Two newly dimitted brothers stood, in turn, to voice their concerns over the lack of communication from the lodge about lodge events, deaths, etc. They suggested the lodge create a newsletter. After a bit of discussion, which I didn't participate in, no one agreed with the idea. I felt for them.
Another newly dimitted member, a Past Master from another Masonic district, stood in support of them, offering his assistance. As he closed his comments he said, "And I think we need a website."
Silence. Stone cold silence.
The last time either of those ideas were actually enacted, I was the one who did them. If you don't know how that turned out, read "The Masonic Ambush" and "A Day in the Life of a Junior Warden."
Sure, I could have stood up to offer assistance to the brothers on both of those ideas, but I figured, why push it tonight? Peace and harmony, you know.
The year 2007 is the 150th anniversary of our lodge. Back in early 2005 a committee of three men was formed to coordinate events, design souvenir coins, create publications, etc. Bro. Bozeman was one member. I was another. After Bro. Bozeman threatened to press his bogus charges against me, I, of course, was never notified of committee meetings.
The third member of the committee stood to make a motion that the year 2007 be dedicated to Bro. Bozeman's memory. There was one nay vote.
Someone else moved that one of the lodge's three scholarships be named in Bro. Bozeman's honor. Again, there was one nay vote.
Lest anyone suggest here that I shouldn't be talking about what happened in a lodge meeting, I remind you that lodge minutes are kept of things "proper to be written," and that what I've told you here is also in the minutes. The only Masonic secrets are rituals, grips and signs, and you couldn't get those out of me with all the tea in China.
("It's bad! It's bad! You shouldn't be talking about Masonry to the public. It's bad!")
The meeting moved to its close. Before he ended it, the Worshipful Master read a short anecdote about the value of friendship and appreciation of life. It was the first "lecture" or "education" I'd ever seen a Worshipful Master give in my lodge. I was duly impressed by what he read and that he read it at all.
The meeting adjourned, and I was eager to meet and speak with the new brothers I did not know.
But like the Freemasons in the movie Magnolia say, "We may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us."
Past Master ____ wasn't through with me yet.
He picked right up where he'd left off when the meeting started. More about posting things on the Internet.
"If you have something to say to me, come to me," he said.
"Aren't you the guy who banged his chair against the table and stomped out of a special summoned meeting called by the Worshipful Master to discuss your and _____ and _____'s attempt to go around the plans of the elected officers of this lodge, when someone you didn't agree with rose to speak?," I asked, in so many words.
Wide-eyed, he looked at me as if he didn't remember any of it.
And so it goes.
I did manage to talk with a few of the new brothers after the meeting. Speaking with them gave me new hope for the future of my lodge.
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