In His Footsteps

Everything has its start, and my journey, like that of many brothers, began with that of another. In my case, it began with my grandfather, John. I spent most of my life knowing very little of Freemasonry, as it wasn’t something he spoke of often. There was an occasional mention of the Scottish Rite’s work with developmental disabilities made when discussing my son’s autism, but never in much depth. He would make an emphatic point that becoming a Freemason was a matter of asking, but I didn’t quite understand, and thought he referred to being asked. After he passed in October of 2017, I inherited his Freemasonry regalia, yet still didn’t really understand what was in my possession. I was curious and had many questions, but wasn’t certain where to find answers.

During the same period, a friend Chicago was battling (and winning) her fight with cancer. Through her, I became familiar with a Chicago-based organization known as the Masonic Association of Service and Therapy Dogs, or MAST, in which she had found comfort and companionship during the many hospital visits. By chance, I noticed one of the dogs from MAST outside a restaurant in Springfield, whom I had seen on Facebook only a few hours earlier. A dog lover and one grateful for the work MAST did for my friend, I stopped to speak with these incredible individuals…and pet a few of the dogs.

“Are you a Mason?” The question came from Bro. Paul Cloud. Responding that I had never been asked, his explanation suddenly put those few discussions I’d held with my grandfather regarding Masonry in a new light. My conversation with Paul was brief, but, as we parted, I was inspired to learn more about this side of my grandfather I’d never known. That night, I spoke with my wife regarding my interest, who supported my decision to reach out to a local lodge. So, on October 8th, I found Tyrian Lodge No 333 by a Google search, reached out, and was invited by Bro. Brian Giddings to a dinner two days later.

Through the lodge, I have made many friendships and found work well worth the time invested. Stated meetings have become a highlight of my month, and the special meetings and events between a supreme joy. Brotherhood was a topic frequently raised before my initiation, and I have found it a promise truly delivered upon.

What I had not expected, though, was that in the course of my own work within the lodge, I would also rediscover my grandfather. So much of what he valued, practiced, and instructed has become clearer. It has very much been a reintroduction, to this person who was such a vital part of my ascent from youth to manhood. For all the wages to be found in the Craft, it is this reconnection to one of the most important people in my life for which I am most grateful.

So, as I consider what led me to Masonry, my own journey and its origins, I realize that it didn’t start with my initiation in March, nor did it begin with my email in October last. It began the day that another John, decades prior, knocked on the door of Craftsmen Lodge No 717, in St Louis. It is a tie that binds he and I together, one I hope will bind my sons and I, and one I hope my brothers in the lodge have the joy of experiencing together.

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