Doing it in public…

March 15, 2014

I’ve had a busy few weeks. Among the many things that have distracted me from the obviously important task of writing this blog has been the celebration of my mother’s 80th birthday. We had a really lovely day. The sun shone, eighty people turned up to a party in a hired hall and a team consisting of her children, grandchildren, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-outlaw, step-children, step grand-children all mucked in to decorate & set up the hall, serve the food, welcome the guests, serve drinks and, in short, do all of the things that need to be done to make something like that a success.

And what’s all this got to do with a Masonic blog?

Well, funny you should ask…

The thing is, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to write about today so, after staring out of the window for a little while, I thought I’d refer to that little volume of wisdom and inspiration that is, of course, my own book, ‘Level Steps.’ I decided that I’d let ‘fate’ take its course and that I would write about the passage that appeared when I opened the book at random…

This is what fate has to say to us today:

 

‘As an Individual, let me recommend the practice of every domestic as well as public virtue.’

-First Degree Ceremony

 

Masonic Ritual often reminds us of the inherent differences between our public and private lives. So much of our daily existence is public – our jobs, our hobbies, our social circles – that it is an easy mistake to think that it is our actions in these spheres that are the most important. It is not that difficult to win acclaim in the eyes of those who are not closest to us. Charitable activities, outward charm and benificence are enough to gain the world’s approval. However, if we do not live to the same high standards in private – with our partners, our children, our close friends and relatives – who are we fooling? While the practice of public virtue may win for us a good name, it is only the practice of domestic virtue that will win for us the precious gifts of a clear conscience and an untroubled mind.

 

Well, there we are…that’s clear, then…

It made me think of my mum’s party because that was an occasion when we were all pulling together as a team and creating joy as we did it. None of my family are Masons, by the way (although there is a second cousin of my dad’s who is…and he was there!) but the point is that we all share a very definite sense of values. We know the importance of family, of kindness and generosity and love. We are not afraid to show that soft side of ourselves and to meet others with humility and emotional openness.

It reminded me of a couple of things: first of all, of course, it’s always good to remember that there are many paths in life and that Freemasonry is only one and a peculiar one at that. Secondly, it reminded me of how important to all of us the bonds of family and friendship are. These are the bonds that that Freemasonry tries so hard to support and strengthen, even to emulate and reproduce throughout the world by giving us common ground, common ties, common values to which to aspire.

A few hours with my family, with my mother and her friends was enough to remind me that the only things in life that really matter are your relationships with those whom you love and who love you. The only thing that lasts or has lasting value in this world is love itself…

We know it…

Let’s live it.

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