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more light #316

A Penny Saved

by Ed Halpaus
Grand Lodge Education Officer
Grand Lodge of A. F. & A. M. of Minnesota

“A penny saved is a penny earned” – Poor Richard’s Almanac (Bro. Ben Franklin)

As one waits, sometimes impatiently, at a check-out line, you tend to notice the more mundane features of the area.  Recently I pondered the significance of the ubiquitous change collectors customers use to put their extra pennies in.  Unlike some innovations in our society, I doubt anyone can pinpoint where or when this relatively recent phenomena occurred.  I am equally certain each of us have availed ourselves of this little ‘bank’ and either deposited a penny or two or withdrew same to make exact change for the cashier.  Regardless of how or where this custom began, it’s a good one.  The storeowner gives up a few square inches of counter space and in return potentially quickens the check-out process.   Best of all, those who deposit or withdraw pennies either smile or display a sense of resolution.  You or I can easily join in this process as we discard excess pennies and/or grab one when we are ‘short’.  “Fine” you say, “nothing to argue about here but is this why I’m reading “Mehr Licht” today”?

What if we imagined that little container, sometimes a torn paper cup, other times a specially made, embossed container, was our Lodge Hall? Whether well worn or sparkling new, our Lodge Room can be that little container.  Some of us coming to a particular Stated meeting seeking ‘light’, advice, a consoling arm, sharing a joy and the like.  We need to withdraw a penny or twol  Others are anxious to dispense good cheer, answer queries, give wise counsel or perhaps even constructive criticism.  The over-riding principle however is that our Lodge has to be such a container if the mutual “give & take” can be fully achieved.

Does your Lodge serve that function of providing a ‘bank’ that is always full of change?  “Change’ in the sense that we make a depressed Brother whole, share the joys of others and answer concerns of yet more Brothers?  And what of that occasional nickel or dime we see in such containers?  When the WM or a Committee chair is desperate for a volunteer to handle an unpopular chore, do we provide that nickel or dime by raising our hand? Conversely, when our personal life has taken a serious downturn: loss of a loved one, unemployment, poor health, etc can we expect to find a nickel or dime in our Lodge room?  Can we assume our Brothers will stretch their cable tows and give us the support we need just as we hopefully have done for them in the past?

Consider your next Stated and the enjoyable times just before the Opening & Closing as we share a meal or just converse.  How many pennies and nickels do you see or hear proffered?  How many are handed out with no sense of obligation of the ‘return’ of same?  Are there some “nickels and dimes” representing extraordinary needs or charity?  Or is your Lodge merely going thru the motions of being an alleged working Lodge where Brothers successes and failures are not even shared much less addressed?

Can we resolve, this minute, to make our respective Lodges very active “change” collectors and dispensers?  Would we not then be better Masons?  So what is real Masonry?  Perhaps this can be another definition: Masonry is a change collector. AND as we make “change” of the pecuniary kind, we also make “change” of the life-shaping kind!   So mote it be…..

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Last modified: March 22, 2014