Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Mason that Religion Denied

He was a Jew.  
She was a divorced Catholic.  
He converted for her, but in early 1920’s, enough was enough.  She was excommunicated from the church, denied heaven, and he was never considered for membership.
They raised a son together, both loved God, neither remained religious.  It had crushed them.
Their son would join the service to fight in the Pacific Theatre on a destroyer.  He had never left California before and his parents did quite well.  Wide eyed and mouth a gape .  
The friendships he formed in the Navy would last forever.  He loved the Navy except…..
It had been a difficult tour this time.  The fighting had grown severe and there were many nights he wondered if he would return to the shores of the country, that in combat, he had grown to love so desperately that he could describe it words without getting an unmanly lump in his throat.  
There were nights he couldn’t imagine life not on the ship.  Drinking torpedo juice with his companions and nodding in accent as they recounted many a fictional night with beautiful women that likely never existed.  He was young in spirit and had not “been” with a woman yet, but under the haze of torpedo juice and highly charged stories...he sure wish he had.
Life was a little terrifying, a little surreal, and a lot exciting.
The strike seemed deafening and the idea of running topside to engage the enemy fighters with what know seemed like a small machine gun was nowhere near as simple as an idea as it once seemed.  But, he did it.
On the deck it was worse then what he had imagined.  It was not just planes, it was ships and his entire fleet was under attack.
What seemed like days later, they had won this one.  It was the worst battle he had ever seen or would ever see...and they had sunk an enemy ship.  What seemed like hundreds of enemy troops littered the ocean, bobbing on the waves.  
Hours passed as they watched men drown or get eaten.  It was as if the sharks, of which he had actually seen only two, knew there had been a catastrophe and sent an alert to their friends.  They died in numbers, but they died slowly, and he watched.
He asked why they didn’t pick them up, but was told that it was not possible.  He saw that they tried their best to turn away their enemies ships and die with as much dignity as the agonizing death they faced would allow.
He admired them.
He hated God.
Then he stopped believing all together.
He was an Atheist, or he wanted to be.  He desperately wanted to be.
The bomb dropped and the war ended.  The bomb did little to convince him he should believe.
But there had been good times, great times in those years.  He had met the woman of his dreams in a sleepy little farm town in New Jersey.  She was firey he would say of her, she spoke her mind a little too much, did everything a “boy could do” and tried like heck to make sure she did it better.  He loved her.  Not in the way he loved anyone or anything else.  He knew immediately that he needed her, that he would be hers in every way for the rest of his life.
They traveled the world together.  They dusted the oceans in a rickety sea plane and toured crevasses in the wilderness of Alaska.  They had two beautiful children, one boy and one girl of course.  They had a brand new home built in a little valley outside of San Francisco for their growing family for the exorbitant sum of $7,000.  They built a large swimming pool for the kids and the house became the neighborhood summer fun center.  He crashed go-carts with his little girl and raised his son to help run the company his father had brought him into after the war.  They were the first company in California to carry the squeegee. 
Life was perfect, but he missed God.  It seemed that for the hardships he had witnessed there was beauty at every turn.  For ever tear he had shed, their had been many smiles.  Who could look upon his children, his wonderful bride, his life filled with joy and doubt the existence of God.
His mother died without a church funeral.  The church would never forgive her.  
So he would never forgive the church.
Papa died and had a Masonic funeral.  Papa had been his first line signer.  Brought into Masonry, the son of an ex-Jew and excommunicated Catholic who couldn’t trust religion, but loved God nonetheless.  Convinced he had seen hell, couldn’t understand how to find heaven, he decided to pray.  
This is what God said:
“I love you.”
He said, “I love you too.”
He died laughing one afternoon on the couch in the middle of a giant laugh enjoying conversation with is bride of over 50 years in the house they built after the war.
His friends from the Navy who still survived attended the service, it was standing room only.  
His daughter’s paster conducted a service.  The son of a divorced excommunicated Catholic and her Jewish husband never fit in a house God.  
He had read many holy books and found one verse striking.  He knew it by heart and shared it often.  It was read at his funeral as his favorite blues music wafted in the background.  The parting words of a heretic:
 The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
 He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows. 

Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
He was a Mason.  
He was my grandfather.
Religion never loved him, but God always had.
***I write this as the Bishop of Canterbury recently renewed objections to Masonry.  I write this for every person persecuted for their political, philosophical or religions opinion.  I write this for the Masons that religion has hated.  I write this for the children that God has loved.  The whole of his creation.***
This article was written for Living Stones Magazine.  For monthly articles by the Relevant Mason please visit