Friday, May 11, 2012

Companions On My Journey

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing
there is a field. I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other doesn't make any sense.

Rumi, Tr. Coleman Barks

Tonight is the final Official Visit of the 2012 season. When I get to this point in the year, I often begin to reflect on what I have written and delivered to you thus far, usually in an effort not to repeat myself. What I have found interesting is that each year some sort of theme usually presents itself. That has never been my goal, mind you, just a manifestation of where my soul is, and what, if anything, it compels me to write about. It is evident to me that this year, my soul has been on a journey of reflection.

I have tried to use this platform to challenge all of you, as well as myself to come to a better understanding of who we are, of why we believe the things we believe and why we do the things we do.  My hope has always been that you leave either inspired, challenged, invigorated, called to action or some combination of those.

Each and every time I sit at my desk and begin what is occasionally the easy, but oftentimes proves to be the daunting task of writing a talk that seeks to do those things, I start by reflecting.  I try to sit quietly and listen to that place in my chest which is constantly seeking light.  I guess if I were completely honest, I write for me.  I write to organize my thoughts, discover who I am, work through my problems, fears and inadequacies and hope that by doing so, the conclusions I come to will empower me to change what needs to be changed and to reinforce whatever I find to be acceptable.

Tonight’s blessedly brief talk is my way of saying thank you.  Thank you all for being my sounding board and for helping me to smooth my extremely rough ashlar.  Thank you for a season of Official Visits that have been incredibly enjoyable, uplifting and memorable.  We have laughed, we have cried.  We have shared things that can only be shared within the walls of a Masonic Lodge.

I have finally come to realize that you, my beloved Brothers, are Light.  This peace, the blessed joy of Masonic fellowship, is what my soul craves.  I look around at your faces and realize I would know virtually none of you if not for this bond.  I would bet that does not just apply to me.  Masonry is the sine qua non of most of the friendships here.  Perhaps some of us would have met by chance through business or family or some other way, but without the gentle spirit of the Craft pulling at our common need for understanding, we certainly would not know each other as well or as deeply as we do right now.

If you feel the same way, I ask you simply to do one thing.  Use the Masonic silence of the summer to rededicate yourself to the Craft.  Return this fall with renewed energy and a commitment to action.  Bring a man to your open house.  Bring two.  Volunteer.  Be an ambassador.  Listen to that part of your soul that is yearning to be part of something great, and nourish it.

Thank you all for traveling with me this year.  I am incredibly blessed to be your District Deputy Grand Master.  I have learned and I have grown both as a man and a Mason and I hope the same can be said for each of you.  I appreciate you having shared your light with me and listening while I shared mine. 

As my own words for how deeply I feel seem inadequate, I will close tonight as I opened, with the beautiful words of Rumi. . .

Those with no energy have gone.
You that remain, do you know
who you are? How many? 

Can you look at a fountain and become water?
Can you recognize the great self
and so enjoy your individual selves? 

Do you run from joy?
Perhaps the lion
should not flee the fox.

Let your loving and your soul
burn up in this candle.
Let a new life come. 

The friend is at the door.
You are the lock his key fits. 
You are a piece of candy,

the choice words of a poem,
the friend and the swallow
of silence here at the end.

Thank you for coming on my journey.

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