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by Ed Halpaus
"Don't consider losses a waste of time, consider them an apprenticeship." Greg Norman
"Love comes unseen - we only see it go." Henry Austin Dobson
As I write this I happen to be listening to National Public Radio, and there is a woman on there who is talking about Henry the 8th She is saying that King Henry the VIII was a Romantic. That's a new thought to me, and I'm reminded what King Henry VIII is reported to have once said, he turned to his wife and said; "I won't keep you long."
"Don't let life discourage you: Everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was." Richard Evans
When I was a kid I would hear an expression, which to me seemed much too often, a man would say to a friend or acquaintance "Hi, how are you doing?" And the forthcoming answer all too often would be "Everyone I can and the easy ones twice." I know now it was just some sort of smart remark to make between friends and acquaintances, but it still doesn't seem right to me, especially among Masons.
One of the things I like about Freemasonry is how it builds character in its adherents, and while Masons are men first, I have found Masons to generally be men of good character who do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.
Here is a quote from Phillips Brooks I like: "Some day in the years to come, you will be wrestling with the great temptation, or trembling under the great sorrow of your life. But the real struggle is here, now . Now it is being decided whether, in the day of your supreme sorrow or temptation, you shall miserably fail or gloriously conquer. Character cannot be made except by steady, long continued process."i
Have you ever thought it would be nice if men were as honest in the little things in life as they are in the big things? Something I heard many years ago is that it's the little things in life that turn out to be the big things, and as I have moved on in my own life I have found that statement to be a truism. I also have learned that what to one man may be an unimportant thing, to another it is viewed as being all important; as a value and principle that he will not violate. This is exemplified in a little story you may have heard before, but please bear with me.
Character is what you are when you think no one is looking, but there are times when we are being observed when we least expect it. As I mentioned this is illustrated in a story about a man who was Captain of a ship during the reign of King Solomon. The crew of the ship was beginning to make ready for a voyage, when the Captain was approached by three men who asked him questions about where his ship was bound and if he took passengers, he was courteous to these strangers and answered the questions they had, but when they asked if he would take them on his voyage he didn't tell them about the cost of passage, or ask to see the color of their money, he just asked for them to produce the permit they needed in order to take such a voyage. The three strangers in a most charming manner said in effect, "Just name your price, nothing else is necessary there is no harm in a little trip." That's not an exact quote of course, but even though they did their best the captain refused to allow them to board his ship.
This exchange between the Captain and the three strangers was seen and heard by an unobserved, but observant man who was traveling by foot from one place to another. Later when he was asked for help to locate some who were thought to be in the area - he freely gave the help he could. He didn't seek to ask why they needed his help, or to get any payment or thanks for what he might know, he thought first to lend assistance and after doing so he went back to his traveling.
This story was first told to me a number of years ago by some friends of mine who were Freemasons. Freemasons are good at telling stories, and they are also good at helping a friend and brother understand the story behind the story, which is what I learned much later when my good friend and Brother Harley Johnsonii helped me to understand the story behind this story.
Now when I hear a story like this I try to see if there is a lesson I might find that will help me in my efforts to live up to the ideals I have as a person, and as a Mason. What I get from this little story is that it is much more important to have a set of values to live by in my personal and business life than it is to take advantage of an easy quick deal that would go against my values, and that as human beings we are always being observed by someone who might be looking to us to see what kind of example we set. I have learned we all serve as an example in our interactions with people every day of our lives; I want to strive to be a good example.
"A mind that is conscious of its integrity scorns to say more than it means to perform." Brother Robert Burns
Our Past Grand Master Ed Waldon died in December of 2003. He was an interesting man and I wish I could have spent more time with him. I firmly believe the more time you can spend with some Masons the better off you will be as a Mason, and Brother Ed Waldon was that kind of Mason.
One of the things that he said once was; "The most important thing that a Mason can bring when it comes to his Masonic Lodge, and his role in it, is his 'Goesinto."
This is what one might call one of those little known secrets, and I was fortunate enough to be present when Brother Ed explained it to a small select group of Masons at the Mid-West Conference on Masonic Education in St. Cloud some years ago.
The 'Goesinto' what is it? How can you use it?
It is what "Goes Into" your thought process when you are presented an idea, a change, a situation, or a problem, both in and out of Lodge. It is what goes into your thought process before you speak, or act.
It is what goes into your research, preparation, and work when you are given a job to do:
If a minimum amount of work, preparation, or thought is what is invested, (Goesinto,) then a minimum amount of result is what will be received.
It is what goes into your part of any program or project you might be involved in with your Lodge.
Your 'goesinto' is one of the most important things you can bring with you to any and every aspect of your life. Begin with the end in-mind, think about what you want as a result; use your goesinto to bring about the best result possible.
"Genius is the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple." C.W. Ceran I was watching TV with my wife last night, and one of the actors said someone was a Schmuck. Another actor said Schmucks have a right to live a happy crime-free life too.
That's true, and I immediately thought of a Mason who's listed in 10,000 Famous Freemasons: He is Brother Elmer N. Schmuck, who lived from 1882 to 1936. (Not a very long time when we're speaking of a human life.) He was born July 27, 1882 in Peoria, Illinois, and graduated from the Seabury Divinity School in Minnesota in 1905. Brother Schmuck received his degrees in Star in the East Lodge #33 at Owatonna, Minnesota on September 8th October 27th & November 10, 1909. He was the Episcopal Priest in Owatonna at the time. Before becoming a Freemason he served churches in New Ulm, and Sleepy Eye, and after he was a Mason he served as an Episcopal Priest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he affiliated with Lake Harriett Lodge #277 on January 23, 1913 serving as Master of Lake Harriett Lodge in 1921. Brother Schmuck served as the Protestant Episcopal Bishop of the State of Wyoming from 1929 to 1936, and he died April 28, 1936. So what's in a name? Well in the name of Schmuck was a pretty nice guy who happened to be a Clergyman and a Brother.
"The names of such flowers as fuchsia, gardenia, begonia, camellia, magnolia and poinsettia are so appropriately floral that it always comes as a surprise to remember that these lovely words are just adaptations of the commonplace names of botanists - such as Leonhard Fuchs, Michel Begon, Georg Camelli, Pierre Magnol, and [Brother] Joel R. Poinsett." Sydney J. Harris
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Last modified: March 22, 2014