I recently had a chance to hear our DEO, WB Jonathan Krapf, giving a presentation on some of the symbols of the craft. And I was thinking, how do I apply them to my everyday life as well as in my year as Master? And here is what I came up with:
The 24-inch gauge is for the instructive purpose of dividing our time. Personally, I’ve had to do that on a broader scale since my back surgery. It’s been difficult. Before my surgery, I was a working man with a 70-hour workweek, a wife, a house and three kids. It was difficult but I did a fair job of using the gauge. But now, I have more time for reflection. It wasn’t easy going from a full schedule to trying to fill my day. That’s when I decided to make my lodge a full time job. And it’s been a challenge but I think my accomplishments speak for themselves.
The common gavel: Divesting our hearts and consciences of the vices and superfluities of life. It’s helped me to realize that with my afflictions, it could be very easy to be addicted to painkillers and drinking and a variety of other addictions. I have no desire for painkillers or other drugs, and even though I have an occasional beer from time to time, I reflect on my many advantages, personally and spiritually, as the gifts I have in my life have sustained me thus far.
The plumb is my way of reflecting on my pride as a soldier. I stood uprightly as an NCO in charge of my squad of men and I had many responsibilities. I’ve learned in my various stations as a Mason that leadership and responsibility go hand-in-hand, standing uprightly at each station. From being a Marshal to my ascent to Master, it’s my honor to serve this Lodge.
The square: To square my actions is difficult at times but I really try to think before I act or speak. I have made many decisions in my life, some good, and some bad. I am very proud of the good decisions I’ve made and the bad ones allow me to make better decisions next time. My virtue stands resolute.
The level: Traveling on the level of time to that undiscovered country teaches me to be grateful for every day that I am blessed with, and living them to the utmost. I live each day one at a time. Until I am called upon to meet my maker, I pray that I live every day fully and with distinction.
The trowel: I hope that with this tool in my toolbox that I’m able to spread brotherly love and friendship amongst my brothers everywhere and live up to the examples of my brethren before me as well as being a good example and teacher to our brothers of the future.
The compasses: To circumscribe our desires and keep our passions within due bounds. I’ve had many desires in my life. Many I have achieved, and many I have laid by the wayside. My passions, as well, have been numerous, and so many I’ve suffered over the years. But the life I’ve lived has taught me to appreciate what I have. The memories I cherish have been bountiful. I love them all, good and bad. I am grateful for everything and everyone in my life.
The Holy Bible is the rule and guide of our faith. When I was baptized at 14 years old, I called to the Lord to help in my need. My belief was limited and unrefined. I called upon Him for strength and guidance and a quest for faith. As I’ve aged, my faith has grown in many aspects. If I live my life a day at a time and always strive to do right by my fellow man, it is certain that I will always put my best foot forward in all that I aim to achieve and learn from my mistakes as I proceed.
The rough ashlar and the perfect ashlar: These two symbols are distinct for me, in the fact that when I start something, I’m the rough ashlar. As I move toward my goals, making the edges smooth and polishing the sides, readying it to be placed, I do not stop with my goal until I have what I feel is a perfect ashlar, a stone worthy to be placed in the “building” of my life, “That house, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
And finally, brotherly love, relief and truth: I have tried my best to regard the human race as one family, treating everyone as I would like to be treated. In all that I do, I do my best not to be judgmental and assist my fellow man where and when I can. I feel it is my duty to do so.
I have used these tools and symbols of Masonry as guidelines in my everyday life, along with so many others. These tools have made me a better man and allowed me to conduct my life with dignity and respect for myself and for others.
Until the next time, I remain, on the level.
Jimmy Dixon, Worshipful Master