DISTRICT DEPUTY MESSAGE
- Last Updated: Sunday, 08 December 2013 10:46
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How Deep is Your Obligation?
A little over a year ago I met an old Past Master during my daily rounds, he was frail and elderly, but the moment he spotted my PM ring his eyes lit up. He immediately insisted on shaking my had again in a manner in which was proper, as he said. I sat down and we talked for a few minutes, giving each other our Masonic resumes. He was a Past Master of a lodge from a neighboring district, he had relocated to Washington when his wife got sick to be closer to her once she had to be put in a nursing home. You could feel his pain as he talked about her getting progressively sicker and eventually passing away. He had no family left in the area, they only had one son and he had relocated out west for his job. We talked for quite a while, as if we had been friends forever, part of that special bound that we as Brothers all share. We visited everyday for a few days while he was a patent and then he was stable to return home and was discharged.
As is the case with most patients that have chronic health issues, they tend to make more frequent hospital visits as their disease progresses and they become more debilitated. On every admission we always found time to talk and solve the problems of Freemasonry. He would be there for a few days and we would get him tuned up, as best we could and then he would be discharged.
A few weeks ago he came into the hospital for the same issues, he was having difficulty breathing and needed us to give him additional medications to help him get rid of extra fluid from his lungs. We had our normal conversation that we had during most of his visits, we spoke briefly of how things were going with each of us and then talked more about the lodge. I was sitting in a meeting a few hours later when I heard the call overhead asking for assistance for a patient being violent, the call was for my area. I hurried from the meeting to the unit and one of my nurses met me at the front door and said "it is your friend". Upon arrival to the patient's room I found him to be violently lashing out at staff. He was hitting, scratching and attempting to bite the staff as they were trying to assist him. HIs respiratory status had taken a turn for the worse and staff were trying to intervene, but his oxygenation had dropped very low making him confused. I asked everyone to step back and let me take care of it, this is not uncommon based upon my size and gender, but my staff were shocked when they saw "how I took care of it". I simply went over to the bed and got ahold of my Brother's hand and leaned over and whispered in his ear. He immediately relaxed and my staff were able to continue to treat him. My staff questioned me about what I had said to him, I told them all I had said to him was "It's ok brother we are trying to help you". Which was absolutely true that was all that I had said, but when it was accompanied by the familiar handshake that was so deeply engrained in my brothers mind he knew those words to be true.
My Brother passed away comfortably that afternoon. I have found myself recently thinking about that event and the profound effect that grip and those few words had during a time of crisis. It was obvious to me that my friend was a good mason, although he had not been active in his lodge for several years you could tell that he lived his life as a mason. This has made me wonder are our obligations engrained that deep in all of us, or are they directly related to how deep our ties to the fraternity feel? I would not profess to ever know the answer to this question for anyone other than myself. But I would ask you, how deep is your obligation ingrained?