The Three Black Cubes…

Sometimes, things in the lodge seem unfair. Why do “they” get to always do that job? How come “those guys” always sit there together? “Why” don’t I get that opportunity…

I witnessed a rare valuable lesson last week with two edges of the blade. In a regular stated meeting, with nothing exceedingly exciting planned, we held a ballot for a new petitioning young man.

This was nothing out of the ordinary, since my state has lowered its legal age to 18, a ballot in from a young man like this wasn’t anything to really raise an eyebrow at. Bundled into a batch of 2 other plural applications, the package was taken to the floor.

After the usual jovialness that accompanies such an event, everyone made it back to their seats. The warden retrieved the ballot to carry it through the chairs and into a Eastern horizon under dark storm clouds. It seems, there was a cube in with the spheres.

Perhaps with the new initiates attending their first lodge meeting they were confused as to the order of what elects and what rejects. Maybe one of the senior 75year members just grabbed the wrong one. What ever the error, we wound the serpent back up to coil its way around again, only this time, with the first, new petitioners.

Away it went, all corners emptying to recast their globes. Maybe it was the clowns on the last go around, you know the Shrine does still attend the Blue. Again the joviality, the joking sense of “uh oh, was it you?” “Oh no, not me, [chuckle], it must have been you!” As the last balloter took his seat, the storm watch was set. Was it the young man of very good report who threw off the heavy load of newly petitioned masons?

Storm Clouds and Darkness….

Ok, the clowns were loose, at least a few. The murmurs and hisses were audible. Why would anyone use the one of the few black cubes in the box? This had to be a joke. This balloter was very well recommended, coming from an excellent pedigree and all of his top liners were legitimate, they all knew the kid.

Ok, it had to be a mistake.

The W.M. called a time out, cleared the lodge, and invited whomever the disgruntled balloter to come to him to discuss the problem. In a Solomnic move, it seemed no one took the bait. So, after a ten minute recess, the refreshment was over.

The processional wound itself again, and the cadre moved to ballot one last time.

Surly is the best word to describe this mob. Voting three times in one night, for one ballot? The dies were cast, and the proclamation struck.

Darkness again prevailed.

An audible gasp could be heard in the pin drop silence.

At the end of the evening, the vitriolic statements of “it’s not right” and “not fair” resonated soundly through those in attendance. How could something like this happen? Had the nominating committee not done their jobs? Had someone missed something? The prevailing sentiment was that someone had done this kid wrong. After all, the other two ballots went through without a whisper of contention.

I have to admit, I too was shocked by what I had witnessed, but secretly, in the back of my mind, I felt cheered. I was cheered that a brother, sitting in lodge with me that night, had conscious to cast the negative ballot, even with the ballyhoo of the masses on the sidelines. Many said it was a personal grudge being carried out, that it was the investigator that they were voting against. But in the end, does it matter?

The secret ballot is the strongest asset to masonry we have. Like our American Democracy, it is our divine right as men of free will, to vote when a vote is called for. And that vote is our individual say in the future of our fraternity. Remember, it in not numbers, its quality. If we fail to vote our conscious, then who are we failing?

The lessons those three black cubes taught me was that there is still hope for Freemasonry, and all it takes is for us to care about it, even enough to cast a negative ballot.

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~ by Greg on February 4, 2007.

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