Thursday, November 20, 2014

Freemason Wisdom: Mark Twain On Accomplishment

Samuel Clemens was a member of Polar Star Lodge No. 79 in St. Louis, MO
We all know that blowhard that never stops bragging about the things he does.  How much money he makes.  How important he is.  How much he donates to charity.  They are all over the internet.  He's the guy that spends more time talking about the volunteer work he does than he actually spends doing it. 

I grew up being taught that true charity was something you didn't brag about.  It was something that should be done quietly because it's not really about you.  I know.  It's a very strange concept in our social media "Look at me! Look at me!" culture.  Don't get me wrong.  It's one thing to bring attention to an important cause (I do that all the time), but it is quite another to use that cause to advertise what a wonderful person you are. 

But some people still get it. 

Every year around this time, we read about gold coins found in Salvation Army buckets.  We read about some anonymous secret Santa that gives away thousands of dollars, a hundred dollar bill at a time, to needy people.  We don't know who those people are because they don't do it for themselves, they do these things because it's something they believe in.

I think that's what I like about Freemasonry--the fact much of the work Freemasons do nobody ever sees.  That's the true spirit of giving--not that jerk that posts on his Facebook page, "Hope you all enjoyed the football game while I just spent three hours serving meals to the homeless."

If that's the future of our society . . . Lord, help us all.

~TEC

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Freemasons On Motorcycles: Who Are The Widows Sons?

Every once in awhile I write a piece that nobody really notices, and then all the sudden, a couple years later, for whatever reason, it suddenly goes viral.  That's what happened with this piece last week.  Originally posted 1/13/13 to the notice of almost nobody this is a piece I wrote about a truly remarkable Masonic organization--the Widows Sons.  I'd only add that when I originally wrote this, I'd met a few members on one occasion, but I didn't actually know any of the members very well.  That's changed since I wrote this piece.  We now have a very active local chapter in my neck of the woods, and I know several members now, including the current Master of my Lodge.  


 I wrote a piece earlier in the week about the Allied Masonic Degrees, and I got a few emails asking me why I've never written a single word about the Widows Sons...  I think it may have been a concerted effort to encourage me to do so.  It worked.  I'm going to tell you a little bit about one of the most unique groups you'll find in the Masonic Fraternity--our leather-clad Brothers of the open road.  The Widows Sons.

Actually, I met a number of Widows Sons a few years ago in Chicago and learned quite a bit about the group at the time--like I was going to have to get something a little bigger than a scooter to join.  But they told me about some of the events they organize, and some of the Masonic causes they support.  I was really impressed at how this group had taken something they all loved a great deal--riding motorcycles--and found a way to turn it into a means of doing good in the world.  I shouldn't have been surprised--that's what Masons have been doing for hundreds of years.

The Widows Sons is not a gang or a 1% Club--they are an appendant body of Freemasonry whose membership is made of Master Masons who share a love of riding motorcycles.  Founded in 1998 right here in Illinois, they began with a single purpose in mind--to come to the aid of the widows and orphans of Master Masons.  And while they have expanded their purpose as their group has grown and chapters have been formed in countries around the world, they still consider offering aid and assistance to widows and orphans as their primary purpose.  Some of their other goals include raising Masonic awareness in the motorcycling community, and supporting Masonic Lodges through regular lodge attendance and supporting Lodge events.  Some chapters even have degree teams that travel to different lodges and do degree work.

Alaska Grand Chapter of the Widows Sons after a ride
The Widows Sons have proven to be an asset everywhere they are, and have served as a booster club for Masonry.  They've taken their passion for riding, and turned it into a force of good in the world.  Many chapters even boast that they have Past or Current Grand Masters as members.  You'll find chapters all over the United States, and in several other countries as well, like Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Scotland, and even Japan.

During their relatively short existence, they have done a great job of promoting our Masonic Fraternity, raising money for important causes, supporting Blue Lodges and other Masonic groups, and providing a positive image of Freemasonry to the public.  If you're a Master Mason, with a love of motorcycles (500cc or more), you can find out more about them, or find a chapter near you at the Widows Sons Website

So keep your eyes open for them.  Next time you see a Widows Sons jacket at a bike show or a rally, go up and talk to them--better yet, give them a donation.  I guarantee they'll do some good with it.

And please remember one thing as your traveling this summer:


 ~TEC

Todd E. Creason is an author and novelist whose work includes the award-winning non-fiction historical series Famous American Freemasons and the novels One Last Shot (2011) and A Shot After Midnight (2012). He's currently working on the third novel expected to be released in 2014. All of Todd E. Creason's books are sold at major online booksellers like Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble and are available for both Nook and Kindle.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Sunday Sermon: Forgive And Forget


One of my favorite books in the Bible is Luke.  It was one of the first books I read in any detail.  It was the focus of one of the first Bible studies I ever attended nearly thirty years ago, and we spent a lot of time on this verse in particular.  It's not only a beautiful verse, but when applied, you'll find there's great truth here.  It was one of the first scriptures I really worked hard on embracing, because I knew at the time these weren't words I was living by.  It wasn't easy to apply, but it was much more difficult when I was younger.  Age and experience and perhaps a bit of acquired wisdom has helped to make this more of an ingrained habit.  This verse over long years of doing it both the wrong way, and the right way, has become a big part of personal philosophy.

I work very hard to let go of grudges.  I will not stay angry at somebody, but it's often easier said than done--life is a contact sport, and sometimes it gets really nasty.  But in the end, I've let those things go.  Perhaps somebody will do something to me one day that I'll have a more difficult time letting go of.  But so far, I've not run across any unforgivable offenses.  I've found that you can't enjoy peace and happiness carrying around anger and hate.  I've had people lie to me.  I've had people lie about me.  I've had people cheat me.  I've had people steal from me.  And believe me, I've done a few things over the years that I'm not exactly proud of.  But I will not go through life trying to even a score.  It's not my role to judge others, to hold them accountable, or to punish them.  That is the wrong way to live your life.

 
I've said it hundreds, maybe even thousands of times--life is too damned short to waste one minute of it being angry.  People hang onto anger as if it has value.  Anger has no redeeming quality.  If you carry it around with  you, that anger will seep into every part of your life.  Free yourself of this baggage and you'll be happier. Just let it go.  When you are able to forgive somebody for wronging you, it feels like the weight of the world has been lifted from your shoulders.  And when you put it behind you, and later look back at it, you'll wonder how it was you stayed angry for so long--that issue seems so small once you get over it.

People just don't understand how forgiveness works.  It's very simple in theory, but often challenging in practice.  It doesn't have to be reciprocated--you simply forgive them.  There are no terms.  They aren't required to be sorry for what they've done, or confess that what they did was wrong--maybe they don't feel they did anything wrong.  They aren't required to apologize to you.  Those that have wronged you aren't required to do anything at all.  By the act of forgiveness, you've simply decided to let it go instead of allowing it to eat away at you for days, or months, or years.  Because being angry at them hurts you more than it hurts them.  By trying to punish them, you punish yourself more.  It's a hurt you inflict on yourself, and have to live with day in and day out until you finally learn to let it go.

~TEC

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Happy Birthday Brother Roy Rogers!


"It's the way you ride the trail that counts."

~Roy Rogers
(1911 - 1998)
Hollywood Lodge No. 355 F. & A.M., California

November 5th marked the birthday of a man I've written a lot about over the years--Brother Roy Rogers.  He would have been 103 years old this week.  He wasn't just a Mason, he was an example.  He was in real life what he portrayed on the screen.  He was a hero and role model for an entire generation.  Our children today could sure use a few positive role models like Roy Rogers.

And I'm often asked.  No, Trigger was not a Mason.  

~TEC  
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