Ok guys, so I’m going to brag on us a little bit, so bear with me here! I have a lot on my heart as an Odd Fellow today, having just returned from the meeting of the Grand Lodge of the Jurisdiction of North Carolina at Myrtle Beach this past weekend. My spirit as an Odd Fellow has most definitely revived! It can be assumed that the caliber of people that want to join a fraternal organization such as ours, are what I would call “ above and beyonders”.
You can feel safe in naturally assuming that these are people of high character and exceptional integrity. Having had the privilege of attending the Grand Lodge District, seeing all of my brothers and sisters; hearing of all their wonderful works and breaking of barriers, completely reconfirmed for me the gem of beauty, that is the heart of an Odd Fellow.
I have only been an Odd Fellow for about 3 years and this weekend gave me the opportunity of revival and to be soaked in fellowship. Every single person I had the pleasure of meeting, radiated with zeal and zest in regards to our cause as brothers and sisters as Odd Fellows. Every single brother and sister spoke from their hearts and exuded true joy in their works and accomplishments as Odd Fellows. Everybody met each other with a smile and open arms. You could feel that the foundation of our organization is strong and that our cause is as relevant and as needed in today’s world, as it was, when founded in 1819. The relief of distress and suffering, is sorely needed by so many people and in so many places in this world; and it is such a precious gift to be surrounded by such warm hearts that truly care and that are making a difference. Seeing this network of friendship, truth and love was invigorating to my spirit as an Odd Fellow.
To be surrounded by such a plethora of individuals, all with the same agenda of truly being servants to our communities and to our brothers and sisters in need, was beyond heartwarming.
It reminded me of just how important our fellowship is in today’s world of disconnection. It emphasized the importance of stepping out of the virtual world, and gathering in fellowship with our Lodges. The importance of attending meetings and being active in our fellowship. The importance of maintaining healthy and open communication in our Lodges, as those good works will aid in our cause of helping our communities. The stronger our foundation, the bigger the impact we have as an active Lodge. When all of us come together, each bringing their own special gifts and talents, the difference we are able to make in our communities, is beyond substantial. Knowing that there are people in this world that care, and take it on as a part of their belief system to visit the sick, relieve the distressed, educate the orphan and bury the dead; soothes my worried heart as I worry for those in need and distressed. People who vow to never leave a fellow man or child behind, that is an Odd Fellow. To alleviate suffering, whenever possible, that is an Odd Fellow; To be honored enough, to help someone in need, and know in your heart you’ve made a difference for someone; that is the true gift of being an Odd Fellow.
Each time I watch our Lodge move swiftly in compassion, we plant a seed of hope in our community. Hope is contagious, and each seed we plant, the more our community positively grows and thrives. A true Odd Fellow tenaciously watches and listens to the needs and concerns of their community and puts all efforts into forming solutions; with things ranging from fundraising, to helping the child that does not have the money to attend a field trip they have earned, or to put emergency resources together such as food; whatever the need, we sit with a watchful eye and open ear, ready to help.
It has been a true pleasure as an Odd Fellow to witness so many caring people, putting their minds and hearts together; putting their strifes and distresses aside, so that they can help others with their burdens.
It really is a sacred thing. It’s like watching God in action, as we sow his seeds of hope and love, one child, one person, one family at a time. Being utilized as Odd Fellows to be safety nets for those at risk and in distress. That is a special honor, not to be taken lightly, and while we don’t do this work for the praises, I am taking this moment to acknowledge all of our brothers and sisters for the beautiful souls that they are.
An Odd Fellow has a responsibility. A brother or sister that has truly taken our cause to heart, pauses to think during times of distress, anger or frustration, “what would an Odd Fellow do?’. The answer to that, is always, to take the high road and ask, “how can I be of service, and which is the path of love and friendship?”
We are to be trailblazers in the business of relief. Every single person that I had the pleasure of encountering or meeting this weekend at Grand Lodge, were exactly that. Trailblazers in love, friendship and truth. I felt so honored to be there, and so honored to be an Odd Fellow. It reignited a flame of gratitude for my Lodge, Jefferson Lodge #38, and called attention to just how much work and devotion my brothers and sisters have put into our own special lodge. Therefore, I felt a need to express that gratitude to everyone. So an official Thank You for all you do as an Odd Fellow. Thank you and know that your work and devotion has not gone unnoticed. I will end with an excerpt from our ode, but lastly, always remember before taking action on an issue, “What would an Odd Fellow Do?”. The bar is set high, for we are Odd Fellows, and it’s an honor to hold the title of one.
In Friendship, Love and Truth,
Sister Blythe Hilliard
Brethren of our friendly Order,
Honor here asserts her sway;
All within our sacred border
Must her high commands obey.
Join, Odd Fellowship of Brothers,
In the song of truth and love;
Leave disputes and strife to others,
We in harmony must move.
Published by Jefferson Odd Fellows Lodge #38
We are Lodge #38 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, located in Jefferson, NC, USA.
Also known as the Three Link Fraternity, the links are representative of Friendship, Love and Truth. As Odd Fellows we strive to make these the basic tenets of our daily lives. In so doing, we believe we can change the world for those we encounter and are privileged to be able to assist.
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