My Brothers, I write this piece as I have recently had a discussion with a good friend and brother who was questioning his actions to an incident that had occurred at his job. This is the advice that I gave to him in our discussion: “We are Freemason’s, a Master Mason in our gentle craft. You and I have a code to live by, and it is a higher moral standard that most people live by. We as Freemasons react more positively to everyday incidents. We are Master Masons. In knowing that fact, always be humble.” So with that initial discussion, it has prompted me to write this small article in hopes it will help another Brother Master Mason in his journey as a Freemason.
Personally, even before becoming a Freemason, I would never second guess or question my decisions and or actions. I always was willing to make a decision/action and then stand by that decision good or bad. Today, as a Master Mason I have a few more working tools than I had as a non-Freemason, but still stand by the decisions I make. I believe as Freemason’s, we are all of a higher moral standard. We meet, act and part while using those high standards.
Let me give you a short example of my decision/actions. A few months after I became a Master Mason, I was tried big time by an incident that occurred in my every day life. My father, brother and I were at my campsite for a weekend of relaxing and fun. All day on Saturday my dog Sadie, who is a German Shepherd, had been by my side without a leash. During that entire afternoon, people had driven past our campsite in golf carts and she had never even attempted to pay attention to them. Until that fateful moment when a golf cart came by faster than usual, and Sadie ran out to the golf cart. The gentleman driving that golf cart had no idea she was going to run out, as I had no idea she would either. But Sadie did, and she was almost run over by the golf cart in the process. I immediately stood up, filled with anger. How dare that guy come flying through here in his golf cart and almost run over my dog! I was ready to fight.
Then my conscious of those high moral standards as a Freemason kicked in. I immediately thought of the First Degree Catechism, that teaches us as a Mason to be a better person. As I was standing there, I realized the gentleman on the golf cart was not the only person at fault in this incident, I was also at fault. I immediately walked to the porch of my campsite and retrieved Sadie’s leash and by that time, my temper had settled down, and my Brother had my dog Sadie. Sadie was fine and unhurt, and the gentleman on the golf cart was apologizing as much as I was for the incident. This all happened within a blink of the eye. All was well, and no one was hurt, and I was a better person and a better Freemason for the learning experience. As a newly made Master Mason, I had just received a true life experience.
As I look back on this incident, I was and am very proud of my actions that day. I was tried by an incident that provoked anger in me to the point that I was ready to fight. I believe I reacted as a good Master Mason should. I was presented with an incident, and I used my Compasses as I should. At this point in my life, I realized that I was a Master Mason and in control of my actions.
I often relate this story to new Entered Apprentice’s, friends and brothers. I am still humble, not knowing if and when I will be tried again, by the outside world. Hopefully, then, I will be able to reflect upon the training and working tools that I have been given as a Master Mason. I must respond appropriately to the incident presented and to respond with those high moral standards based upon the training I received from my Lodge and our Fraternity. After all, I am just a reflection of my Lodge, am I not?
Matthew Arnold McIntosh is a Master Mason and is currently the Senior Warden of Morgantown Union Lodge No. 4 in Morgantown, West Virginia. Matthew is married to Miriam “Mickie” McIntosh for 24 plus years, Matt and Mickie have two adult daughters and two grandchildren and of course Sadie, the family dog.