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And THAT Is What It Means To Be A Mason

June 4, 2019

His name was Pete Mills, but I didn’t know that until later, ten years later, actually. He may have given me his name when we met, but I don’t remember. I doubt he remembers my name either. But, I will never forget what he did for me.

It was a cold winter’s night in 2009. We were living in Pleasant Grove, Utah. My son was recovering from a surgery. And his recovery wasn’t going well. He was in a lot of pain and had been for most of the night. About 2:30AM it got worse. His fever spiked. . .to 108.8. . .under his arm.

Had we been thinking better, we might have responded quicker. Our addled 2:30AM brains were trying to decide do we put him in a cold bath? Do we take him to the hospital?

All the while he was agonizing in pain. Complaining that his legs hurt. And his head hurt.

And then he wasn’t. He wasn’t complaining. He wasn’t even talking. In fact, he completely became catatonic.

I don’t panic in crisis. I become pretty focused on problem solving. I wasn’t sure if my son was dead. But, there was nothing we were going to be able to do for him in our house.

I bundled him up and raced to the car. My lovely wife stopped long enough to wake my oldest daughter to let her know that we were going to hospital.

She drove. I held my son. The hospital was about three miles. There’s very little traffic at 2:30 in the morning. And I can tell you if you rush into a hospital emergency room at 2:30AM with a limp child, you will get instant service.

I laid my unresponsive son on the table and the doctors started to work on him. His fever was still incredibly high. They started icing him down and pumping him full of antibiotics.

And then he started yelling.

It broke me.

Never before have I felt that much emotion. I started crying, and I was inconsolable. My lovely wife dismissed me to the waiting room while she finished filling out the paperwork for my son’s hospital stay.

I sat on one of those slick chairs clutching the blanket I’d recently bundled my son in. And I sobbed. At 3:00 in the morning, there’s no one else in the hospital waiting rooms. No one except the security guard.

After I’d cried myself out, he wandered over. Close enough to let me know he was willing to engage, but not close enough to intrude.

We talked. About nothing really. He didn’t ask why I was there. And I didn’t volunteer it. I think we discussed baseball. Possibly politics. Maybe a little religion. But, the topic I know we discussed was Masonry.

See, he was a Mason as well. He noticed my ring.

Masonry is a fraternity. It’s a club really. It’s old. It’s ancient. It was founded in the Middle Ages. But, the Masonic ritual references Solomon’s temple from the Old Testement.

George Washington was a mason. Many of the early founders of America were. I’ve been a Mason for years. I joined the fraternity partly because my uncle was a mason. And my grandfather was a mason. I’m not sure who else in my family may have been a mason.

But, after joining masonry I started to learn why the institution has stood the test of time for hundreds of years. My uncle put it best.

Masonry helps good men become better.

That night in the hospital waiting room, was the first time I truly understood what being part of a worldwide fraternity meant. He was exactly what I needed. A friend. A brother.

Masons are sometimes viewed as insulary. We tend to stick together. It’s not by accident. In fact, part of what Masons commit to do is to support their nation, their neighbors, their families and each other.

Most times it’s not that dramatic. Our meetings are boring with an occasional laugh at our own expense. But, sometimes we step up and have a chance to make a difference.

A friend called me the other night. He’s also a Mason. He reached out to me at about 10 PM.

Hey, can you talk?

He called me. We talked for a couple of hours. I didn’t give him advice. Well, maybe a little. But, mostly I just let him talk. We didn’t talk about anything very specific. We talked about politics and religion a little. We didn’t talk about baseball, but the one topic I’m sure we discussed was masonry.

As our phone call was winding down, my friend mentioned how much he apprecaited me taking time to talk. I told him the story of my son and the conversation with the security guard.

I never even knew his name.

I do. His name is Pete Mills. He’s from Texas, right?

Yeah, that’s what he said.

He lives in Spanish Fork now. I’ll let him know.

And that’s why I’m a Mason. That’s what being a Mason means to me.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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