Thursday, December 13, 2018

Points Of Light

I remember many years ago taking a red-eye flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta—it was a six or seven hour flight in the middle of the night. It was the first time I’d flown at night, and I slept through most of the flight. Every once in awhile, I’d wake up and look out the window. I thought it was odd that every time I woke up and looked out the window we were flying over a large city. The city lights were beautiful across the landscape below. The last time I woke up, I glanced out the window and saw that once again we were flying over a large city. I suddenly realized that wasn’t a city beneath me! We were flying over vast rural areas, and those lights below were barnyard lights from all the small farms spaced out over the miles below. We were flying so far up, those small lights looked very close together, but in reality could have been a mile or more apart from each other.

I was thinking about this again recently, when President George H. W. Bush passed away. He made a remark in his nomination speech in 1988 about a thousand points of light that baffled many people. Nobody seemed to really get what he was talking about. He repeated that concept of a thousand points of light at his inaugural address in 1989. What’s been forgotten is that he was talking about community organizations like ours. Small points of light in a sea of darkness doing our good works—building men, building stronger communities, serving as pillars of the community, helping those who are less fortunate. I knew what the President was talking about, because I remembered that flight and how all those small lights below looked from far above.

It’s very easy for us to become discouraged at times as Freemasons. We aspire to live by a very different set of rules than other men do, and that can make us feel very much alone at times. We can feel as if we’re living our life by standards that seem outdated to many people in our modern society. We look at the problems of the modern world, and we wonder if all our efforts to improve ourselves, and to make this world a better place aren’t a giant waste of time.

I’ve felt that way from time to time, and when I start thinking like that, I just look at my map. I have a map on my wall at home of the Eastern Masonic Area of Illinois. I have all one hundred Lodges in that area marked on my map with a pin—from above my map looks a lot like that view out of the airplane window so many years ago—that map is covered in pins. And if I were to mark the homes of all the Masons that belonged to all those Lodges? I wonder if I’d even be able to see the map for all the pins!

We are not alone in this effort of making the world a better place—each of us carries a light, and our Lodges focus that light. We’re scattered out all over the state of Illinois, the country, and the world. And even a small light has a tremendous advantage in the darkness—it can be seen from many, many miles away. President George H. W. Bush made another comment in his 1989 inaugural speech that I think applies to Freemasons in particular. He said, “The old ideas are new again because they are not old, they are timeless . . .”

Originally published in the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville (IL) Valley Echos Newsletter

~Todd E. Creason, 33°

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