Most of us probably never connect the word “nobility” and Odd Fellows together, but sometimes I feel excited by seeing those among us who appear to derive great satisfaction in doing a lot for little or no pay.
Being a good Odd Fellow often calls for more than a handshake or smile. It often entails a difficult decision, an honest discussion, or efforts not delineated in any code book. Many lodges have at least one or two members who are constantly striving to make improvements, coordinate events, or manage communications between lodge members. Often, these are the very things we don’t see or simply take for granted. There are many members who have overseen certain events or other facets within the order for decades, and yet we only rarely even notice them. I’m sure each of us could think of dozens of members such as these.
The DMC has often talked about the diminishment of the order, and in many ways the order is diminishing, but some of this is inevitable, because the world itself is changing, evolving, becoming more urgent and yet also more private. How can any of us survive against this flow of the current of progress? One answer is to look at these heroic individuals who work tirelessly at their favorite events, who lead the charge to change, evolve, and yet retain the sanity of the order. It’s quite a dilemma, to stay true to the Odd Fellows tradition, and yet to attract new members. Some would call it impossible. But we can see from several examples that it is possible. If I were to name them individually, some would seem to be almost anti-change, or evolution, but by their struggles they make the case for an Odd Fellows future. Think of them yourself. We are all inspired by them, to both keep going, and to feel a bit more secure about our future.
Our order is like a family business, passed on for generations. Sometimes bejeweled, sometimes bedraggled. It’s not easy, pushing for a continuum, but it is something that can be larger than any of us, and yet it contains a bit of each of our souls. How do we ensure that our order continues? By honoring those who keep mushing on, by seeing that the world is not so bad if we see ourselves within it, and by helping those with the big work ethics and pure hearts by not being a hindrance. Clearly, we have survived as an order for many years, and we can survive for many more if we honor those who carry the load, who lead by example, and light the way with the brilliance of their leadership.
In Friendship, Love, and Truth, Rick Boyles