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From the Lodge of Perfection West

Portrait of Larry TygartA quandrant topped by a crown with a nine pointed star and a five pointed blazing star Blessed and Highly Favored

Yes, I am blessed and highly favored. That is a gift to all of us from the Grand Architect of the Universe. As most people say, I also said it in my past, when asked how you are, the canned response is "I'm good." As I have been exposed to more diverse cultures and references as to how I am, it has changed over the years.

I, at one time, responded: "I'm good" to a very intensely religious person, and was met with a curt response, "Only God is Good, you can only be well or some other variable to that statement, but not good." Taking it to heart, I began to utilize other statements to avoid saying "I'm good." "I woke up this morning," "I am as well as can be expected," etc. You know the routine.

It was not until I became un-retired and went to work for the Coalition that I happened upon a Vet that was housed at one of our projects. A man, by all appearances and demeanor, could have been the lead for ZZ Tops. Slight build, with a beard and hair that extended past his waistline. Always neatly dressed and wearing a wooden cross that was hand-carved for him by a fallen brother in arms.

His affliction was the same as many of the Vets and other folks that are, or were, experienc-ing homelessness, trauma, and substance abuse. All things being as they were, on every occasion that we met, he continued to tell me that he was blessed and highly favored. Not because of his station in life, or the stations that he had held - that's a story in its own - but because he was blessed with another day and that the amenities that he was currently afforded, he considered being favored.

His positive approach and happiness were only for those times that there were others to share in his life and conversations. These quickly faded away with the daylight and the presence of others to commune with. As the day got darker, he - as many did and do - slipped into the reality of loneliness, solitude, and the substances that numbed him from his past in war abroad, and the war at home on the street and forever in his mind.

I did not "know him," but I knew him until his past and present took him. At that time, I reflected on many things as we all do, and began to utilize the phrase as it was as simple a truth that has ever been made.

When I am questioned further on my statement, it is because I have today and what I am doing today. As Reverend Jim put in one of the prayers he published from the York Rite, "What have I purchased with a day of my life?" I do not look at the times on my calendar that fill quicker than we all realize, but try to focus on the time and moment, and still I wonder about those that we swore not to lose to forgetfulness, the ones that spend and spent lifetimes in the daylight, then towards the waning days, they too slip into the forgotten darkness and eventually there is no more darkness.

I will continue to respond "Blessed and Highly Favored" because I know I am, and I know that there are many more that are not.

I pray for those who struggle to find some light
That they may forget the darkness of their plight.

The darkness surrounds us, all have confessed
Those who travel in light are said to be blessed.

Put out your hand to give them a lift
To save another's life who is set adrift.

The cable tow we all had savored
Is now the symbol of the favored.

Remember we took the pledges and vows
That we would uphold always somehow.

A life is a life, none are better than others
But love is love, especially to a brother.

A smile, kind word, or an embrace
Guaranteed to show on anyone's face.

As we go through our journeys, long forgotten teaching should come to our minds. The "B" Attitudes. (Matthew 5, verses 3-10)

Are the poor in spirit, for there is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
Are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Are those that are persecuted for Righteousness' sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Larry Tygart, 32° KCCH
Senior Warden, Centennial Lodge of Perfection

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