I’ve always struggled to accept life for what it appears to be. In part, I can thank my late mother who, for a long time as a single parent, taught us to question everything and find answers for yourself. While this did not always sit well with teachers in school. It did build a solid foundation of self-exploration and research to find the answers and our own direction in life.
The quest for answers led me on a long journey of research into Freemasonry, a little more than 10 years to be exact. Why Freemasonry? This I can chalk down to being involved in organizations which foster camaraderie from a young age. From being a boy scout to joining the South African Police Service many years later and on to working on the oil rigs all over the world. There’s always been some form of camaraderie in my life.
Having heard and read all the fluff on the internet, I still felt something was missing from my life and found the website of the Grand Lodge of South Africa. There I found some of the answers as to what is missing from my life. I needed something to challenge me and push me to be a better version of myself daily, one of the foundation stones of Freemasonry.
After 12 months of attending the lodge’s meal after their meeting, I was initiated on the 5th of July 2015 into the greatest order in the world. Even though I spent years researching Freemasonry, nothing could prepare me adequately for the awe-inspiring experience of the night. Even now, writing about it, I still remember as if it happened last night. I knew on that night that my path of personal discovery and improvement started.
Today, almost 5 years later, I am the Presiding Master of my lodge, the Treasurer for the Province and heavily involved in the development of the website of The Grand Lodge of South Africa. All of this though does not equal or outshine the pride I feel each time I stand in front of my Brethren in the lodge knowing that they are there for me, as I am there for them. The fellowship and brotherly love is truly something to marvel at and something our world most certainly could do with a lot more of.
Everyone has their own reasons for joining, some need friendship while others, like myself, have the need to improve themselves continually. Freemasonry gives me that. It gives me the tools using lessons developed over more than 300 years to improve myself daily and make me a better version of myself every day.
If there’s one lesson I can dispense that I have learned in the last 4 odd years of being a Freemason, it will be that Freemasonry is not for everyone. Sure it says we require applicants to be men of good repute, it still does not mean Freemasonry is for everyone. Freemasonry is, in my opinion, for those men who are good and genuinely want to be better. Those men who know the value of the camaraderie he will experience and who are willing to work daily at being a better man today than he was yesterday.
It is for those who understand that once initiated, you aren’t a Freemason for one night a month. You are Freemason for life, and the teachings should be implemented daily. It is for those who realize that being a Freemason is a way of life and its teachings should be reflected daily in all your dealings.
In a world where empathy, love, respect and moral values seem to have gone by the wayside, I believe Freemasonry stands tall as a shining last beacon of hope for humankind. Freemasonry has the tools to shape the good men of the world into better men who can change the course of the future to making the world a better place.
While searching for ways to better myself, I found the world’s oldest fraternity, using some of the earliest teachings in the world to make me a better man. To take the example of what I have been taught and use it to stand out amongst the non-members as something different. As a man who not only works daily to improve himself but also an example to the uninitiated, showing what is truly possible if you really put your mind and heart into it.
I believe that I have become a better man, a better father and better husband through being a Freemason. The journey to self-improvement is continuous, and I believe Freemasonry has set me on a lifelong course to continuously do that just that.