Feel Good Moments
Illustrious Tom Davis, 33° PR, Valley of Livingston, Orient of Montana
With a sense of isolation that comes during the stay-at-home protocol arising from the Corona Virus pandemic it has become the 'new normal' to seek out creative ways to entertain and enlighten ourselves (and others). In so doing we have discovered new and innovative connections and interests. Think of how we have delighted in the many 'memes' (an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by non-genetic means, especially imitation), created for Facebook using everything from our babies and pets to lip synching lyrics of our favorite songs.
Some of the more talented among us have even created their own media productions . . . singing, acting, preaching, being stand-up comics, on the internet through apps such as Youtube, ZOOM, Skype, Twitter and others. Even that more archaic method, the hardwired telephone, is seeing renewed use. Whatever the method, collectively we are actually reaching out to one another. We have been forced to substitute (not replace) virtual relationships for in-person contact. I call these new methods of connecting "Feel Good Moments". And, feeling good is what we desperately need in these times.
Yesterday I was privileged to participate in a very rewarding Feel Good Moment. Through the untiring and innovative efforts of Ill. Bro. Michael Wainwright, past Venerable Master of Livingston Valley of the Scottish Rite, an online gathering of Knights Rose Croix was created for the purpose of observing the Ceremony of Remembrance and Renewal. It was necessary that it be somewhat abbreviated due to our inability to share in some of the physical elements of the ceremony.
However, that was more than compensated for by the choreography of each of the brothers, working together virtually from their homes, creating a beautiful and cohesive presentation of this very moving ceremony. The meeting was attended by Scottish Rite Masons from across the Orient of Montana, including our SGIG, Ill. Bro. David Nielsen. We even had brothers from California and Minnesota sign in. Certainly it was a Feel Good Moment of which Livingston Valley can be duly proud. Congratulations!
It is indeed encouraging to see organizations of many different types meet the challenges created by our physical separation. Churches, study groups, fraternal organizations, families and others have all seen the value of staying in touch. I see this as an exciting and promising opportunity moving forward into the future. With the cancellation of our Montana Grand Lodge Session in June there is really no reason that virtual workshops could not be implemented to keep our Montana brothers engaged and enlightened.
Likewise, this should be a tool for the local Blue Lodges to employ in securing the welfare and engagement of our beloved brethren, their families, and the members of our appendant bodies. Many of you may have heard the stories of brother masons living in rural America in the 19th and early 20th century, riding for hours on horseback to attend their lodge meetings, some even staying overnight, returning home the next morning. It was that important to them!
While meeting virtually doesn't replace that "certain friendly and brotherly grip" that we treasure, the ability to see the smiling faces and hear the familiar voices of those we love, even if on a computer or smart phone, is still a Feel Good Moment. In fact, once life is back to normal, virtually connecting could certainly supplement the regular stated meetings that we anticipate resuming. I'm excited for the possibilities!
In the days and weeks before us my wish is that you all remain safe and secure, but also to stay connected! As stated in our Ceremony of Remembrance and Renewal, "May brotherly love prevail, and may we ever be united in every social and moral virtue (emphasis mine), cemented in the mystic and universal bond of Masonic Brotherhood. So mote it be".
Sincere and Fraternal blessings to you all!