Why I Am

Guest Blog by PJ Roup, 33°

When I initially sat down to write this column, I had intended to pen a tongue-in-cheek story about becoming a Mason so that I could be a part of the vast cabal that secretly ran the world from a bunker hidden deep underground in Dayton, Ohio or Charleston, West Virginia or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Conspiracy theorists: if you draw lines connecting those three cities, they form a square! Gasp!

While I will admit that the mystique that has surrounded Freemasonry for centuries may have drawn me in at first, it is not what keeps me involved. The origin stories that held us up as descendants of Noah, Solomon's labor force, or Templars born anew made me fee early on like I was part of something special - something bigger than myself. That feeling grew stronger when I looked at all of the historical figures who associated themselves with Freemasonry. If these astronauts, inventors, statesmen, heroes, and intellectuals found it a worthy pursuit, then I certainly would. But my feelings quickly changed. I still feel very much a part of something bigger than myself, but for drastically different reasons.

Spiritually, being a Mason has satisfied what I can only describe as a soul-deep yearning. When I decided to join, I knew that I wanted something more of life. I needed something more. I had to find out what my purpose was. And Freemasonry has helped me connect those dots from the corporeal to the eternal. It did so by showing me that there exists a spark of Divine in everything. Understanding, or at least attempting to understand that, has made me want to strive even harder for Truth. It was in this striving that I found what is for me, the best of being a Mason: sharing a journey with like-minded souls.

It didn't take me long to realize that I was in the company of men that I would never have met had I not knocked on the door. Our lives were too disparate. Some had large families; some were alone. Our vocations would not have brought us together. Most of us would never have met, and if we had, we may have only been acquaintances at best. But the Craft - this mystical bond of Brotherhood - has united us all. We have come into each other's lives and played the role of teacher, student, mentor, sounding board, rudder, shelter, caretaker, compass. We help without question, love (although imperfectly at times) without condition, and support without hesitation.

This is why I am.

I belong because, in spite of all of our faults, foibles, and fears, we can come together and achieve great things. With industry and energy reminiscent of the symbol of the beehive, we lift those who can't lift themselves; we teach children to read; we help heal the sick; we better ourselves; and we better the world. That is bigger than me, and it makes me a better me.

I love that about Freemasonry, and I wouldn't give it up for all that Templar treasure that we have stored in that secret bunker. Shhh!

Taken from RiteNow, The Magazine of the Valley of Pittsburgh, September 2019

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