Ladies of the Lodge
Don’s Diary (Ladies of the Lodge)
They do not pay subscriptions, they do not get a vote, and they do not attend our Lodge meetings. They sometimes join our assemblies. However, their influence in our Freemasonry is enormous. Of course, I am writing about our ladies. Our Freemasonry would be substantially different without their support.
I suppose I am old enough to have heard most of the advice and comments about women and none have reduced my affection for them. When contemplating marriage: to “make sure that you have a good look at her mother first”. On living: “you cannot live with them and you cannot live without them”, and on retribution "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned". (Paraphrased from The Mourning Bride, William Congreve, 1670-1729). So with that sort of advice where do they fit in?
Where women fit in Freemasonry seems to depend on a lot on how we Freemasons view the Fraternity. Freemasonry can fulfil many useful roles and women seem to fit best where a Freemason sees it as a fraternity with a unique opportunity to spend quality time with good men including some that, in the normal course of events, one would never meet. It is where a Freemason sees an opportunity with his brethren to do things useful for mankind. It is where he can be happy and come home happy and relaxed, no doubt talking about who he has been with, what has been achieved and what is planned. A mate at home will be interested in his activities, delighted to see him happy, learn who he has been with in lodge, happily seeing him attend the next meeting and anxious to meet some of his brethren. So the essential ingredients are the relationship between the Freemason and his woman, her knowledge of and appreciation of his activities, empathy and trust. Her support will be cemented when she participates in lodge activities and attends some of its functions.
If a Freemasons sees Freemasonry largely as a career, and an opportunity to achieve some perceived superior standing among men that he would never have achieved during his employment, then the same level of support by women will unlikely to be attained. The activities to achieve these ends may lead to self-satisfaction but seldom, if ever, real happiness. Their misguided ambitions will be likely to consume them as well as destroy other Freemasons who would normally remain contented members. Women who find themselves in such circumstances will be likely to have more self-respect than being a “Masonic widow” to the alternative of being treated as “a handbag”, propping up a light-weight or a phoney who only sees it as being about himself – but not often seen in the Craft.
There are other ways to destroy a woman’s support of Freemasonry. For example, if a wife is not confident that her man is actually attending lodge when he leaves home, or if he makes such a mystery of it all she feels that he has dark secrets that he should be sharing with her.
We are fortunate in Lodge Devotion with the support that we get from our ladies and our new Worshipful Master and his lady set an example to be emulated.