Strange and a bit sad.

Today is strange and a bit sad for me. Today is the anniversary of an event that I cannot commemorate in a public way. It is related to some other posts I have made, which are a bit cryptic, in nature. The reason they are cryptic is because, if I were to reveal their true nature, it would, likely, hurt people in a way that I would never want to do.

One day, perhaps, I will be able to talk about and discuss those things, but for now, it just isn’t possible. I was hoping that writing a little would help, but it really hasn’t. I really look forward to the day that I can talk about this to certain people who are a part of it and I hope those people are as willing as I am to talk about it. A large part of it will be general acceptance of events that transpired many years ago. I’m afraid that acceptance won’t ever happen and I can’t find out for an amount of time that only God knows.

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RIP Mark

I just got word, from my sister, that a childhood friend of mine passed away. I’m sure we all have those friends that we still consider close, even though we may not have had contact in a while. Mark Hilke was one of those. We grew up not too far from each other. Our older siblings were close friends. We hung out during college. Mark was one of the two friends of mine who took me out for my 21st birthday. I have quite a few female friends that light up a room when they enter, but not many male friends that can do the same thing. Mark was one of those. The picture of him, in my brain right now, is of him smiling that big ole smile like he was up to something… he probably was.

Mark, I love you, Brother and I’ll miss you.

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Duly Installed

Today, December 6, 2020, I was installed as Worshipful Master of Harrison Lodge No. 114 F&AM of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee. I am proud, honored and terrified to have been elected, by my friends and brothers, to this office. I will do my very best to serve this lodge, the brothers of this lodge, the community of Harrison, TN and the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, to the best of my ability. Love y’all!

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A Mason

A Mason is a man who professes a faith in God. As a man of faith, he uses the tools of moral and ethical truths to serve mankind.

A Mason binds himself to like-minded men in a Brotherhood that transcends all religious, ethnic, social, cultural, and educational differences.

In fellowship with his Brothers, a Mason finds ways in which to serve his God, his family, his fellowman, and his country.

A Mason is dedicated. He recognizes his responsibility for justice, truth, charity, enlightenment, freedom and liberty, honesty, and integrity in all aspects of human endeavor.

A Mason is such a man.

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A Bag of Tools

Isn't it strange that princes and kings,
and clowns that caper in sawdust rings,
and common people, like you and me,
are builders for eternity?

Each is given a list of rules;
a shapeless mass; a bag of tools.
And each must make, ere life is flown,
A stumbling block, or a Stepping-Stone.

R. Lee Sharpe
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Why is he called “Worshipful Master”?

Masonry began in England in the days when the beautiful old Cathedrals were being built. The craftsmen who designed those magnificent buildings, and those who built them, organized themselves into lodges. Each lodge elected a Master to head the group and other officers to lead it – those ancient lodges were the beginnings of Masonry.

In ancient times, the word “Worshipful” meant “Respected”.

Because one Master Mason was elected by the members to lead them, he was given the title Worshipful Master indicating that he was a respected Master Mason.

In modern Lodges, a new Worshipful Master is elected each year. The Worshipful Master serves as the chief officer of the Lodge, and presides over all its meetings. The Worshipful Master wears a hat during all proceedings of the Lodge. The significance is not that the Master is wearing a hat out of some sort of preeminence, but rather the other members are not wearing hats out of respect.

“Why Is He Called ‘Worshipful Master’?” Billie Mosse Lodge, www.billiemosselodge.org/why-is-he-called-worshipful-master

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New Orleans 2020

Elections bring out the worst in people

Elections do, in fact, bring out the worst in people in ways I could not have imagined. So, here it is… my token post about the election. I have been sitting here for days wondering if I should even create a post about the election… or, at least, related to the election. Everyone else and their brother seems to have an opinion, so why not me, I thought. What kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t post something about current events?

Full disclosure… this post has been edited and the original paragraph, occupying this paragraph’s space, was removed. After some very valuable feedback from three people, whom I trust about such matters, I decided to remove it because it tainted the spirit of the article. Now, back to your regularly-scheduled post…

I think the issue, surrounding the election of the President of the United States is deeper than simply bringing dignity back to the Presidency. This is a pretty tired subject, but with the advent of social media, people have gotten more than a few free passes with being jerks themselves.

Here’s a funny quote about how I feel about the whole thing:

“Social media has made too many of you comfortable with disrespecting people and not getting punched in the mouth for it.”

Unknown

There, I said it. I miss the days when, if you wanted to say something nasty to someone, you had to do it to their face or, at least, over the phone. Sure, you could also say something bad about someone behind their back, but there was still a little doubt about something having gotten lost in translation. It wasn’t as direct. Facebook takes that last sentiment to a whole new level. What’s worse is some people keep others on their friend list for the sole purpose of arguing with them. I can’t imagine this is healthy.

Now, with the assistance of social media, you can say something directly, without having to look into someone’s eyes to do it or, immediately, face their wrath. They might not even see it until the next time they log in, which could be days. By then, at least, some damage has already been done and they weren’t even there to defend themselves.

Elections do, in fact, bring out the worst in people. Over the last few months, I have noticed a few things on my Facebook feed. Some people I’m friends with are just jerks when they think they know better… or even when they don’t know better. Some of my friends are uninformed and are ignorant on purpose. Some of my friends just like to stir the pot. Some have no trouble hiding their hate. Some have chosen to show their love. The minority are very well informed and produce posts that one can actually learn from. Still, others are well informed, but have trouble hiding their hate. Since this post will, likely, end up on my Facebook feed, I’ll let you decide which group you belong to.

As for me, I chose to be part of the “love” group with a smattering of participating in well informed posts without engaging too much. Maybe that is the easy way out. It could be that I know God has a plan and he will use anyone he deems necessary to accomplish that plan.

I have a hard time believing that platforms, like Facebook, initially intended their platforms to be used for such divisive purposes as many people do today. Nevertheless, they have created this beast and now have to manage it or else give up massive profits. I’ve seen recent posts about boycotting Facebook in favor of Parler. This seems to be under the guise of “free speech” and no threat of censorship. On the surface, this seems like it might be good, but after some thought, I think this has the potential for being exactly the opposite. Now, people can really speak what they are thinking and not even have to worry about going to “Facebook Jail.”

My plea is this… just show love, people! Try to really imagine that you are looking into the eyes of the person you are “posting to.” Do you not even care that your words have weight anymore? I’m not one to judge people by what they say. I’m more of a “judge by their actions” kind of guy. That being said, it’s kind of hard when my only tool is writing to people I haven’t actually laid eyes on in years. Also, I hope this sentiment reaches some of my friends who have gone the “darker” route on social media.

Just to be clear, I consider everyone on my Facebook friend list a genuine friend for some reason or another. Maybe, I knew you when I was still in single digits… maybe, you’re married to someone I knew in single digits… maybe, we have been lifelong friends and have never lost touch… maybe, I haven’t laid eyes on you since high school or middle school or longer… maybe you were a teacher of mine… maybe I was your teacher, in some capacity… maybe, we played sports together or against one another. Maybe you’re a fraternity brother or lodge brother or coworker.

The point is, I consider you my friend and you are on my friend list for a reason. As a friend, I am asking you to be nice. Don’t be fake, but understand that you can, almost always, get your point across without being mean or disrespectful. If you can’t, then maybe you should just keep it to yourself until you can figure it out.

I hope that my social media legacy is that of a person who tried to bring people together and say nice things… or, at least, say things in a nice and well-informed way. I hope you do the same. Now is the time for us to truly come together and figure out how to be decent again. Love y’all!

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We Are Okay!

Happy October 16th, y’all! We are okay! I just wanted to let you know, the Barber household is okay.

You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” 

Margaret Thatcher

It occurred to me, the other day, that I hadn’t really given any kind of worthy update since, like, April. Let me assure that we are okay. The number one big thing today is that it is Melissa’s birthday! We’ll not discuss exactly which birthday, but a birthday, nevertheless. Happy birthday, Baby!

One big things going on right now is that I started toward my MBA. I am only taking one class this semester and it is kicking my butt. Financial Management 6020. My degree is through Tennessee Tech, so that’s pretty cool. Suffice to say, there a reason I don’t manage my household finances.

A couple of other, educational-related, things are that Taylor will be graduating UTC this December and John should be graduating Tennessee Tech in May 2021. Within seven months, I will have had all three of my children graduate college. It, truly, doesn’t seem like it has been that long since they graduated high school. I could not be more proud.

You know… despite 2020 consistently throwing us curveballs…. with the virus, the working from home, economy problems, election craziness and everything else going on, I am happy to say that, for the most part, my family is doing pretty well.

Mom did have a not-so-little health scare a while back, but seems to be recovering nicely. Dad and Nancy are doing pretty good and getting out some. Overall, not so bad.

This weekend, the Lodge is having our annual Car Show, to benefit special needs children in Harrison-area schools. This thing has been postponed since May, so I’ll be glad to get it done.

Elections at the Lodge will be coming up in the first week of December and I will be in the running for Worshipful Master of Harrison Lodge No. 114 F&AM. I’m a little nervous about the whole thing, but excited too. Assuming I am elected, it’ll be a big responsibility. I just hope I can lead those men in a positive way and accomplish some good things in my year. I hate that Robert, our current Master, had to do it in 2020. He had big plans and didn’t get to do many of them. I hope I can make good on some of his stuff and add some of my own.

Lately, I have been working on getting this website SEO-ready. I am learning a lot! This includes making my post a little longer than I normally do, as you might be able to tell. I hope this was a sufficient update. More later!

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