From the West

As I bicycled my way from East to West across this con tinent, one word constantly surfaces: relief. There is no wonder why it is one of the key tenants of our institution. On many rural roads I saw abject poverty along the way. At home we are continuously exposed to solicitations by phone, profuse mailings, TV advertisements, requests by youth organizations and fundraisers. So much so that we are numb to the requests. So, who do you decide to give to? And How much?

The bicycle trek was dedicated to raising funds for Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis ALS Research (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). It was surprising who gave and who will passed us by. One woman in a rusted four-door sedan asked about our bicycle shirts. We were outfitted with proper tight spandex for the ride, quite revolting for men over 60. When we explained the charity she reached in her car and handed us five dollars. She had a friend who died of ALS and seemed as though her five dollars was equivalent to one of us giving $500. Such a big heart from someone who could barely afford it. When folks give us cash we go online and donate in their name. If they have an email address we also send them a picture and thank you message. I am loath to ask people to make a donation or purchase. I have asked friends who could well afford to drop $10 or $20. but just sluff off the request. It was so disheartening and demoralizing.

Only you have the answer that fits your circumstance. But I encourage you to go outside of your comfort zone and take a discerning look. Find a worthy cause and if a friend makes a request be very hesitant in rejecting their plea. We all carry pocket change. How much pocket change do you carry? $10, $20, $100 … what? you carry even more? And most importantly give frequently. Find a way to give often and not just at the regular places. It does make a difference…. a HUGE difference. Be that difference to someone. Be a Mason!

Joseph Tischler
Senior Warden