We talk a lot about working in the quarries, building the temple, and other sorts of things that relate to hard physical labor. Freemasons make reference all the time to allegory and symbolism related to the building of King Solomon’s temple. With all this work, there has to be some reward that makes it all worthwhile. In the time of King Solomon, workers were paid in various forms of currency – money, grain, salt, food, wine, oil, and more. Today, for our symbolic work and philosophical labors, our reward is different.
The wages of a worthy brother Master Mason are many, but most notably is the fellowship he feels and the joy in his heart that comes from sitting with his brothers. It is a lifetime of not having to be lonely, and of finding kinship on more than just the biological level in any city you travel to. It is about a network of brothers who help each other and enjoy each other’s company, regardless of how well they know each other at the outset. Having a group of friends and brothers to whom I can turn, even for just a social outlet, is something I would not trade anything for.
I recently hosted an event at which Most Ex. Jim Loudermilk, PDDGHP from Washington, DC, made some remarks and said that something he loved about being a Mason is that he can walk in a room and be surrounded by friends, even if he had not yet met them. I think that sums it up well. We are connected by an indissoluble chain of sincere brotherly love and affection. It matters not whether we know each other deeply, in passing, or at all. If we meet, we will be fast friends.
Loneliness is probably the greatest epidemic in the world. You can quote me on that and take it to the bank. Freemasonry provides the hope of relief from isolation and loneliness.
The friendships I have made through the fraternity are precious to me. You can keep your grain, salt, food, wine, and oil. Friendships are the real wages we earn through our Masonic labors. That is better than any other payment I can think of, although a little wine is nice as well.