This week we buried a gentle and most revered Freemason, Brother Milt Krueger. Brother Milt was a good friend and I will miss him. As we were getting prepared to enter for his Masonic Service, I was talking to the Commander of Janesville Commandery #2, Past Master Fran Prusansky, as we were reflecting on Milt's life and how we will miss him.
I mentioned to Fran that as I have gotten older and have been to so many Masonic Services of my good friends that I felt I was starting to move into what the Master Mason Degree is all about it. In the book Freemasons for Dummies, I found the following:
"The Entered Apprentice degree represents youth because it teaches the most basic lessons of belief in God, the necessity of charity to mankind, the importance of truth, and the value of keeping one’s word.
The second degree is the Fellow Craft, which represents manhood, the middle period of life. During this degree, the importance of education and work, and the awesome power of God, are taught to the Mason.
The Master Mason degree represents age. The brother is encouraged to reflect on his deeds and make peace with his God because death is a strong theme during this degree. How a man lives and dies is the most important message the degrees of Masonry convey."
I feel myself getting more tired as years go by and accepting more and more the inevitable loss of my good Brothers and friends and yes, even myself. When I was young and learning about Masonry, I was excited (and still am) but knew so little regarding the awess of its teachings. As I became more involved and developed my own sphere of Masonic Brothers through "working for the craft", I found my best friends. I have learned that the Brothers I have "grown up with" are so special and so vital to my being that I hate the thought of loosing any one of them.
Then the inevitable happens and you find yourself a little easier to deal with the loss because of what we have been taught and the promise of the acacia and life eternal. I would ask each of you to cherish your friendships, if you are new to the Fraternity, grow your friendships and be close, you will need and support each other as you move along your peaceful journey.
You will spend a lifetime with them and when you are near the inevitable, you will be with each other and you will have had a life time of togetherness. During your Entered Apprentice of youth and the Fellowcraft of your working years and into the peacefulness of being with your cherished friends as you find age, you will know what it means to be a Freemason, you will feel it . It is not the pins, not the perfect ritual, not the accolades and not the awards; it is the tears, smiles, laughs, hugs, phone calls and memories of life with your good friends and Brothers.
I will miss my good friend and Brother, Companion, Sir Knight, Sublime Prince and Knight of Honor; Milt Krueger.