My Dear Brothers,
In November, I spoke to you of Fortitude in remembrance of Veterans Day. This January’s choice is Temperance, which is the virtue of moderation while being forgiving and patient. To me, with day-to-day stress, continual testing of our patience, increased road rage, and daily life elevated with uncertainty, Temperance is the perfect virtue to demonstrate self-control. It is perfect to add to any 2022 New Year’s resolutions since it can help us maintain balance in our lives and moderate bad habits.
Years ago, after working at Ground Zero, I decided to quit smoking, replacing my smoking habit with peppermint balls. In 2021 I found out my replacement was causing my sugar to rise, so I immediately gave them up, which was easier than giving up smoking cold turkey, and to me a perfect steppingstone to do so.
Temperance doesn’t always mean abruptly stopping a bad habit but recognizing it, substituting it for something less damaging, and eventually moderating it. Temperance gives us the free will to do so. It also means keeping stability in our lives since it doesn’t involve removing all pleasures but balancing them. Temperance shouldn’t consume our lives, but help keeping everything in check.
Let’s remember our resolutions – eating less, making more money, paying off bills, being kinder or more charitable, but always remember what led us to making these resolutions. If we are worried about bills, in most cases it’s because we have a roof over our heads, paying for a child’s college or a car loan. If we resolve to lose weight, it’s because we have food on our tables. Making a resolution to be more charitable, means we recognize what we have, and understand there are those who have less, or have bad luck in life. We all will experience difficult times or situations, but we, as Masons, have each other’s Brotherly Love and guidance to elevate us to a more spiritual level.
As Senior Warden, I experience Masonic wealth traveling to other lodges, which I have done in the past, but more so now as I move toward Master. I’m meeting new bothers while becoming even closer to ones I have known for years. It was an honor to visit our Prince Hall Bothers of African 459 Lodge #63 in Brooklyn, witnessing their installation and seeing the differences in how we do rituals. Recently, I observed de Molay installations, something I had never seen before, and it was a distinct honor. I was also present at the Truth Triangle officers’ installation, another glorious night. These young men and women are our future. Gathering with my bothers at the Past Masons’ Dinner was a beautiful night. The Gala was impressive, the speeches on how Masonry has touched all our hearts was amazing, and the fact that Santa arrived was even better. Nothing sticks out in my mind more than hearing W:. Rich Harris yell in utter
excitement, “SANTA!!!” when he arrived.
I’d like to share an anecdote I recently read: “One day a very wealthy father took his son on a trip to the country for the sole purpose of showing his son how it was to be poor. They spent a few days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.
After their return from the trip, the father asked his son how he liked the trip. “It was great, Dad,” the son replied. “Did you see how poor people can be?” the father asked. “Oh Yeah,” said the son.
“So what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father. The son answered, “I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.
“We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.”
“We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.” The boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added, “It showed me just how poor we really are.” (Author unknown, translated from the original Chinese.)
Too many times we forget what we have and concentrate on what we don’t have. What is one person’s worthless object is another’s prized possession. It is all based on one’s outlook. Sometimes it takes the perspective of a child to remind us of what is important.
Enjoy a happy and safe new year, and always remember to treat every new day as you do on New Year’s Day, resolving to be a better person and a better you.
Sincerely and Fraternally,
Michael S. Crispino, Jr