Address from the District Deputy to the Grand Master for District #10
Brethern,The theme for Most Worshipful Jim Mendoza’s term as Grand Master of Washington State is “Be the Difference.” It’s on his lapel pin, my cufflinks, and the shirts, bag, etc. So, what does that mean? In his words:
“Freemasonry calls us – dare I say, compels us every day – to Be the Difference. It starts with Building Bridges – in our families, social circles, communities, workplaces, and lodges: with others and even within ourselves. This is about creating a sense of connectedness, and it is not always an easy task. In fact, it might be one of the hardest things that we, as imperfect and ego-driven humans, are asked to do. It is at times awkward and daunting and painful; it can be clumsy and uncertain and utterly exhausting. Sometimes it involves uncomfortable conversations and bruised egos and being the first one to say “I’m sorry” or “I love you” or “I was wrong.” It requires a healthy dose of faith, liberal amounts of forgiveness, and an endless quantity of grace. These are not activities that we can do once and simply set aside. We must do the Every Day, Every Way.” – MW Jim Mendoza
Our nation has just come through a very difficult election. A lot of nasty stuff has been said, implied, circled around the internet and blasted at us through the media. I personally have been the receiver of it, and sometimes the willing spreader of it!! Passions have been inflamed, and the worst has been brought out in many people. But guess what? This isn’t new. This one seams worst because it’s the most recent.
As Masons, it’s our duty to take the high road. A disparaging and inflammatory jab from a person of a different political persuasion as yourself can be met with inflammatory comment in response…or with a smile and a comment such as, “…that’s not quite how I see it, but I respect your right to believe that.” This is not in ANY way to suggest that any of you become weak kneed and lose your passion or in any way sacrifice your deeply held beliefs. And, venting with your friends and blowing off steam, perhaps even a profanity laced tirade can be appropriate…in the proper crowd. As Masons, be sure of your audience. The world is watching. In public settings and mixed crowds, behave in a way you would be proud to have shown on TV News, personally and for the fraternity at large.
Finally Brethren, whether or not your dog won this fight, remember that it’s not the “Apocalypse” either way. In four years, we’ll rack ’em up and do it again. Be the Difference. YOU focus on the positive to help those around you do the same. This is a wonderful world we live in and it’s getting better. Worshipful Brother John Wickham of San Juan Lodge pointed this out in his installation address in 2015. I want to expand on some of his thoughts with some information taken from the book, “The Rational Optimist.” Among other things, life expectancy has increased MORE than TWENTY years in the past century. More poverty has been eliminated, and more people have entered the “middle class” in the last 50 years, than in the prior 500 years. By virtually any measure, mankind now has more calories, longer life, better medicine, better communication, easier travel…and believe it or not, more SAFETY than any time in human history. Nostalgic remembrances of “the good old days” are a backward look through Rose colored glasses…at a time the NEVER actually existed.
Remind yourself and people around you how great it is to be alive in the United States of America… in THIS time … today … the greatest time in Human History. Be a good Citizen. Be a good Mason. Be the Difference.