Mind your cabletow

By | October 27, 2015

A Freemasons CabletowThe cabletow is often used in Freemasonry as a symbol of our own personal ability or the limits of what we can do without causing damage to ourselves and our loved ones. While there are many other possible meanings for the cabletow this is the one I’d like to focus on for the next few minutes.

In our day to day lives we take on any number of obligations, your son’s school play, your daughter’s soccer game, the dinner out next week with the parents, not to mention the deadlines and deliverables where you work.

And that’s before we even get to Freemasonry and all of the events, meetings, and projects, that go hand in hand with the organization.

I have often seen Brothers sitting there scrolling through page after page of their calendar (I’m just as guilty as the next) looking to see if they can fit in that next committee meeting. After seeing that there is a space on their calendar the checking starts, the spouse’s, the kid’s, the district’s, the Temple’s, the list goes on and on – why do we do this to ourselves?

I heard a disturbing comment the other day, “if you don’t have at least one Masonic conflict a week you’re doing something wrong.”

I’m not suggesting that you stop what you’re doing, cancel everything on your calendar, and unplug from the world. I’m suggesting that you set some boundaries and reset the length of your cabletow and prioritize what’s within it.

For as long as I can remember I’ve worked to follow the following priority list:

  1. Religion
  2. Family
  3. Work
  4. Freemasonry

I often give the above list to others when they start to talk about things going on and trying to figure out how to fit everything in. In this day and age most feel overwhelmed so the above list helps to prioritize things.

Your list might be different but I would suggest to you that you create one and work from it the next time you’re asked if you can be at that next meeting. For example, if I were asked to attend a study session next week I would run the following questions.

Does it conflict with what’s going on at church? No.
Does it conflict with anything at the school or on the wife’s calendar? No.
Do I have a deadline I need to meet at work? Yes.

At that point I would stop, and let the Brother know I’m talking to that I can’t be there due to work commitments. A true Brother will not only accept the answer but will likely empathize with it (almost everyone has had at least one deadline like that).

Our cabletow is supposed to help us gauge our limitations, it would be wise to heed it.

2 thoughts on “Mind your cabletow

  1. david woodruff

    Thank you for this informative article. I recently stretched my cable-tow pretty tight and had to prioritize. I am a newly Raised MM and in my eagerness to be more involved I let my volunteering and saying ‘Yes’ get out of hand. I had forgotten about some school functions of my daughter’s that I had already promised to here.

    I contacted my Brothers and cancelled my involvement in a few lodge activities and explained why. At first I was worried about what they would “think about me” or that I would be seen as unreliable or uninvolved. To my delight they understood and supported my decisions.

    It is instances such as this that strengthens my belief in the fraternity and my bonds with my lodge brothers. I just have to remember to mind my cable-tow.

    1. Scot Newbury Post author

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article and even more so that your Lodge Brothers responded they way they did. It’s not always easy to see the length of our cabletow so vigilance is the key!

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