By Brother Peter F. Daigle, Ancient York Lodge No. 89, Nashua
I was asked to write a few words about my Masonic Journey so far. I must have written this at least a dozen times. I think that’s part of the journey, isn’t it? Self-exploration and knowledge.
I began with the literal journey – how I got where I am now. Then I was asked, what was my spiritual journey so far, and to be quite honest, I never thought about that. I have never explored my spiritual self before.
I became a Freemason in August of 2019. I know I have changed because of Masonry. I can feel it in me, but I don’t know how to answer the question that was posed to me. Spiritual, or Contemplative Masonry is, presently, something I have a hard time understanding.
I do think about my journey, how I got here and where I want it to go. Those are two different points on a large map that is made up of different materials. Some materials will be made from joy, some from tears and sorrow, disappointment, pride, achievements, love, faith and so much more. My road will travel on each part of this patchwork myriad and sometimes it will be alone, but I know I will have a wonderful support structure with friends, family, my faith, and my Brothers.
I think my mind was torn apart and left exposed during my Initiation. Sounds dramatic, I know. I have never done anything like it before. There was a certain cadence to it that fascinated me as I experienced it. Not just the first time, but more-so every other time I have witnessed one. Parts of it felt like a song. I was inspired then and each time since.
I say my mind was left exposed because I was made open to new ways of thinking about myself, about others and the world around me. Things I took for granted suddenly had a new way of being looked at through metaphors and symbols. I know I will always be finding new ways to explore these symbols and how they reflect on my life.
Freemasonry has also changed how I behave. When something upset me, I either bottled it up or got upset. As a Mason, I like to think that I have begun to subdue my passions when I’m upset. That phrase, “to learn to subdue my passions” is a mantra I have taken to heart. I don’t always succeed, but I’m learning to do better.
My support group has expanded as well. If I am in distress, multiple Brothers reach out to me. My first instinct was to say, “I’m fine.” However, that is not always true, is it? They reached out to me because I’m not fine. They are not there to judge, but to walk beside me. I have learned that this is what is meant by Charity. As a result, I have opened up more.
I have looked at the Book of Ruth several times since. Recently, the Master of my Lodge gave a lecture about Ruth. There are so many layers to this part of the Bible that he helped lay before me and even though I’ve read it several times and read a couple papers about her story, Worshipful Brother Mader explained it for me in a way that helped me understand why it’s so important to the Craft.
So, I have been learning more about the world around me as a result of Masonry: my faith, our nation and its forefathers, and how Masonry has affected world history-and how I’m a thread in that tapestry now.
I know that I have a long way to go, still. But that’s okay, I’m not in any rush.