I don’t know if anyone still reads this blog, but I wanted those very few that do, that I came home two weeks ago. When I got back to San Antonio, I knew the world had changed, and not for the better. My house was sold, I came back to the airport and was greeted by no one, but as the saying goes “You made your bed, you can lay in it.”
I got a room in the Visiting Officers Quarters and slept from Friday 10 June to 13 June, the next two weeks were spent what the Air Force calls “re-constitution” . It’s been rough to be honest with you all, while I was in theater I ate, slept and shit the enemy and suddenly being back in the states it’s hard to let go of that. The GAOTU blessed me as I conducted ~70 combat missions in Afghanistan, but everyone of them have taken a toll on my soul. Masonry was always on my mind, it was stalking me every turn while I was there. The greatest impact that was before any serious or dangerous mission I would clean my M4 and my M9 as a good Airman would do. I would clean my weapon while watching some testosterone filled TV show, after I was finished and I put the rifle and pistol back together I would do a prayer that we are taught during the third degree, in Texas the prayer goes as follows:
"Thou, O God, knowest our down-sitting and our up-rising, understandest our thoughts afar off. Shield and defend us from the evil intentions of our enemies, and support us under the trial and afflictions we are destined to endure while traveling through this vail of tears. Man that is born of a woman is a few days and full of trouble. He cometh forth as a flower and is cut down; he fleth also as a shadow and conintueth not. Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with Thee; Thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass; turn from him that he may rest, till he accomplish his last day.
For there is hope of a tree that if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. But man dieth and wasteth away; yea man giveth up the ghost and where is he. As the waters fall from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up, so man lieth down, and riseth not up till the heavens shall be no more. Yet Lord, have compassion on the children of Thy creation; administer them comfort in time of trouble, and save them with an everlasting salvation. Amen"
Before I would go out I would write my birthday down through the current day and would say that today is the day I am going to die. It cleared my head, instead of caring pictures of loved ones or half-in/half-out I just said “Well, today I will die”.
Like I wrote before Freemasonry followed me everywhere I went while I was in Afghanistan, the Canadian’s set up not only an impressive military lodge in Kandahar but a York Rite, when I was traveling through KAF I would see the flyers and smile, it was good. I also met many men who were deployed and were brothers, one of them Chief Munro who is a Navy Chief and a Navy Seal, one of the few in the entire Department of Defense.
Freemasonry was always more to me than a position in the line-up or memorization of lines; it has been a standing institute in the betterment of man.
I crave of Freemasonry in my life; I just don’t know where I can find it. On a positive note, I received a note from a member that a The Masonic Society where a member paid for my membership in 2011 because of my service, and for that I thank him, deeply. Notes like that mean the world to me. Keeping up with dues while deployed is a pain in the ass, and this was one less thing to worry about.
Things are okay now for me personally; I have waves of guilt and sadness, like I am grieving. I sometimes have crying fits, this past Friday I was hit with such sadness that it made me sick, and I threw up. Same thing happen yesterday morning as well, but so goes the uncomfortable readjustment of returning from the forgotten war.
I ask and plead with anyone that is reading this, if you have lodge members that are deployed, please try and take care of them. Contact while deployed is priceless, and reaching out to a member could turn their shitty day into a great one, please remember that.
My journey in Freemasonry continues, and so will this blog, but it might be a bit rocky from here on out.