Why I Became a Mason –pt. 1

It Was All My Wife’s Idea

No, really. I’m sitting on the couch one day after work, blissfully immersed in my Netflix queue, when my wife leans over and says, “Honey, I want to show you something. But don’t laugh, I want you to think about it…” Then she hands me her phone, open to a Facebook post.

“Freemasonry?” I reply, with a hint of incredulity. Images of National Treasure, Dan Brown novels, and the Simpsons flicker through my mind, but I know my wife well enough to know that she’s probably been thinking about this privately for days, carefully considering it before bringing it up, so I check my initial reaction.

“Yeah. I think it might be good for you, and I think it might be what you’ve been looking for.” I hadn’t realized I’d been looking for anything, but as usual, her insight would prove to be spot-on.

A friend of hers from grad school had posted a link to the Millersville Open House on Facebook. He was a cool young guy, with some amazing tattoos, and it was clear we had a lot in common from Doctor Who to a passion for learning. She told me how she had a lot of respect for him, and he seemed like a really good man, and that was what masonry seemed to be about: Taking good men and making them better.

Not a Joiner

I’ve always been a bit of an outcast, lone wolf, maverick type of guy. (Read: nerd.) I can be socially awkward, and it can be difficult to maintain a circle of friends, especially since moving away from the few I had left from college. I also prided myself on my individuality, on being “different,” not a “joiner.”

So I had honestly never given Masonry a single moment of thought, any more than I’d considered the Knights of Columbus, the Rotary Club,  or any of the other clubs on the “Welcome to Plainfield” sign. The only clubs I ever joined were Latin Club, Ballroom Dance, and of course, my old D&D group. When I heard the term “Fraternity”, I thought of all the alpha males who wanted to shove me in my locker in high school. Not a strong seller.

But right away, I could see masonry was different. First, not everyone could join. These guys had standards. Moral standards. Secondly, while requiring a spiritual foundation, they were open to all different faiths. That caught my attention. As devout Presbyterian, I had no problem with Christian organizations, but that sort of rigid institutionalized tolerance bespoke a different breed of men, with open minds and serious intellect.

As a history nerd who dabbled in Shakespeare, the ritual aspect really caught my eye as well. It was refreshing to think that in our world where information is free and easy and ever at your fingertips, there was knowledge out there that must be earned, wisdom that could only be obtained through hard work. And yes, the secrecy was incredibly captivating.

The more I looked, the more I liked. Masonry seemed like it might fill a hole I had not even realized I had. As a fifth grade teacher, I spend most of my day surrounded by women and children. As a card-carrying nerd with no interest in sports, I frequently feel uncomfortable socializing in large groups of men, and always had better friendships with women. But the idea of this sort of manly comradery really spoke to me on a deeper level, and I hadn’t realized how much I had missed those kind of relationships.

Our first child was only a few months old, and none of my friends had children yet. Having a place where I could be around other men, talk with them, learn from them, receive mentorship and guidance; my wife was right. It was what I’d been looking for.

As a devout reader of www.theartofmanliness.com, I’d become fascinated with the idea of old-fashioned, classic manhood. I’d started shaving with a brush and a double edged razor, and had been reading up on Teddy Roosevelt. It seemed a refreshing change from the extended adolescence and “dude-bro” nature the rest of my generation seemed afflicted with. I was 27, with a wife, a baby, and a promising career; I was sick of guys. I needed to be a man. So, the world’s oldest fraternity, dedicated to true manhood? Alright, sign me up.

Take-Aways

Non-masons out there, especially ones of the millennial generation, you might feel like you don’t fit into the mold of the free-wheeling, no-responsibility manchild you see in every Judd Apatow movie and sit-com. You might be ready to take something seriously, to shoulder some responsibility, to work and earn something valuable. You might find yourself looking at past generations, wanting to incorporate the values and resilience of your grandfather’s era, but struggle to combine it with the sensitivity and open-mindedness of the modern age. Like me, you might be wondering how to be a man in the new millennium, but aren’t quite sure what that means, and without role models to show the way, you may feel like you’re stumbling to blaze your own trail. But you don’t have to; masonry is there to light that path.

Masonic brothers, remember the example you provide at all times. My journey through the degrees of masonry began with a man I’ve never even met in person; but there was something different about him that made my wife take notice, something that earned her respect, so much so that I wanted other people to speak about me the way she was describing him. We must bedifferent. We never know where our light might take hold, so we must shine our brightest in all aspects of our lives, to walk uprightly on all our paths, for the benefit of all mankind.

Read PART TWO

9/11: Here’s to the Firefighters

Floyd Sendmeyer

Firefighters are a special breed of people.  The first firefighter I got to know really well was my 8th Grade Science teacher who became one of my first and earliest mentors.  He told his class stories of fighting fires with flames flying over his head and the peril of the whole room igniting in a flame over.  None the less, firefighters put themselves in danger every day for us.  The next fire fighter who I got to know well was Floyd Sendmeyer.

Floyd spent many years working as a fire fighter in Indianapolis.   I had the pleasure last year of Floyd showing me his fire helmet.  I imagine it initially shone of tough black leather, but now has the wear and tear, dents and depressions to serve as a testament to the decades he spent saving lives and serving the Indianapolis community.

Most Millersville Mason’s know Floyd from Millersville Lodge, Millersville York Rite, serving on the fire fighter organization at the Shrine, and also being a steadfast figure at the Indianapolis Scottish Rite, where he recently was honored with the Meritorious Service Award.  He is also a Past Master from Sojourners Lodge – a lodge who’s membership is derived entirely from active military personnel and veterans.

On 9/11, I pause to reflect on people like Floyd and Mr. Phillips.  Firefighters, Police, Armed Forces Service members, paramedics, and more all put others well being in front of their own.

In 2001 the firefighters and police of New York City came to the aid of a city and country in distress and I am glad to think about and be thankful for their scarifies as they ran into the flames.  I am also thankful for on the men and women in our community who run into the flames, not only during acts of catastrophic terror, but every day distress.

If you are a firefighter or service member, we would love for you to leave your comments below to hear your stories.

Colt’s In Motion at Fish Fry

The fish fry is right around the corner and we are excited to announce Colts In Motion will be setting up shop at the Millersville annual fish fry on Thursday September 18, 5-7pm.

Worshipful Master Chris Hinshaw has arranged for the official 42 foot long mobile Indianapolis Colts museum to be at our Fish Fry.  You’ll get a chance to check out Colts memorabilia and exciting exhibits about our favorite American Football Team!

The Fish Fry runs Thursday Sept. 18-Saturday Sept. 20 from 4-8pm each day.  In addition to Colts In Motion and great fried fish, Rob Switzer, J.D. Cash and Jim Strauss will be conducting lodge tours on the top and bottom of the hour.

Here are some more details about the Fish Fry.

Support Candy May

Every Masonic Lodge that has a partnership with an Eastern Star Chapter knows much they owe the chapters for the support of the lodge.  In those chapter’s you’ll find a woman like Candy May who has lead Millersville OES for many years and is currently serving another term as Worthy Matron.  She is also the driving force behind the Millersville Family Breakfast.

Unfortunately, she has been diagnosed with a very serious medial condition and the medical bills are piling up.  The Star ladies have setup a donation site to support Candy and they asked if we would be able to share the link on our website.  How can you say no to helping someone who has done so much to help us and Millersville?

Please check out this link:

Help Candy May