Happy Healthy YOU

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Kelly Spencer - Happy Healthy YOU

(A wellness column by Kelly Spencer: writer, life coach, yoga & meditation teacher, holistic healer and a mindful life enthusiast!)

Masons or Masonry consists of fraternal organizations that trace their origins to the local fraternities of stonemasons, from the end of the fourteenth century.

A fraternity is a group of men (just as a sorority is a group of women) who join with like-minded people to make change. Masons look to make change in their minds and hearts and the world around them.

The basic beliefs common to all regular, mainstream Masonic organizations can be boiled down to three simple concepts. Masons are taught to believe in: brotherly love, love for each other, and for all mankind with a basic purpose to make better men out of good men. There is an emphasis placed on the individual man by strengthening his character, improving his moral and spiritual outlook, and broadening his mental horizons. Masons seek to mindfully improve themselves and to help others, not because they think they should, but because they want to. Because of this crucial distinction, Masons give freely of themselves and ask nothing in return.

Virtus Junxit Mors Non Separabit is a latin phrase that means 'Virtue has united and death shall not separate.'

This is a Scottish Masonic 14th rite.

There have been some very important men in history belonging to this organization. Kings and world leaders, as well as every day community-serving men. U.S. President George Washington was a mason. The first Prime Minister of the Dominion of Canada, Sir John MacDonald, who belonged to the St. John's Lodge No. 758 of Kingston, was Honorary Past Grand Senior Warden. Canadian Native Indian Chief, Chief Tecumseh was also a key member in the masonic lodge.

But perhaps for me, the most powerful and influential Mason, who joined the lodge in April 1975 and was a Worshipful Master in 1976, was my father James (Jim) S. Spencer.

This man was my hero.

My dad was a Mason, but he was also a Shriner. To be a Shriner you must be a Mason first. In fact, in the name of Shriner - the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine - you can rearrange the letters A.A.O.N.M.S. and spell “A MASON.”

Once when I was a little girl we were down in Port Dover at the dock where his boat was. We ran into the little store to grab some ice for the cooler. No one was in the store. He grabbed some ice and we left. A little shocked since he was taking the ice without paying, I inquired. He said, “if I leave money on the counter, I can’t be sure the owner will get it. I will come back and pay them directly, so I know they are paid fairly.”

Another time, I remember volunteering with him for the Meals on Wheels program. He would volunteer time for a few hours a week to pick up trays of food from the hospital and deliver to people that couldn’t cook or make it out of their home with ease, providing a hot meal. The recipients, often older people from my recollection, seemed so grateful to have a visitor bringing them food. My dad would make small talk and crack a few silly dad jokes. I think they were appreciative, equally for the companionship. My dad was president at the hospital and he was a volunteer to take to food to people.

I remember thinking that I wanted to be like him when I grew up.

He was a man of virtue, teaching me about equality and fairness. As a community leader, he put the UNITY in community by instilling and showing by example the importance of volunteering and giving to people, to make the world a better place. As long as I can remember, he never stopped trying to improve himself. I teased him during a speech I gave at his retirement party regarding his competitiveness by showing the guests his actual book collection with topics such as, how to be a better golfer, bridge player, sailor, leader and man.

My mother and I were discussing how we were missing him a lot this past holiday season, since his passing in 2013. On Christmas Eve day, my mom said a cardinal came to visit her and sat for the longest time at her back door. Cardinals that make their presence well known are said to be loved ones that have crossed over, coming to visit. I told her that Dad wants us to know he is still around us in spirit.

We had no idea how much he wanted us to know.

A few hours later, I received a message.

“Odd question... was your dad a Mason?”

The message continued.

“I was at my sister-in-law’s tonight and they found a ring in the gully. They own the house that your parents used to live in.”

My parents had not lived there for over 11 years.

“It’s a gold Masons ring. On the inside its inscribed with the date April 1975.”

My dad lost that ring many, many years ago. He wore it as a wedding band.

“The ring was literally just sitting there in the gully, not covered my mud or snow. Just sitting there. Waiting to be found.”

I got goosebumps, or as I like to call them, grace-bumps.

I received the ring back this week. My mom said I can have it, as she wears my dad's wedding band that replaced this one.

My son looked closer at the ring. Inside is inscribed with the date, but as well with the Latin phrase,

Virtus Junxit Mors Non Separabit.

Thankful for the energies that allowed my father's ring to be returned to us. Thankful for the Masons that make the world a better place. Thankful for a father that showed me how to live and see the world through his eyes.

Indeed, virtue has united, and death shall not separate.

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