Okay, maybe it's a click-baitey title, but that's precisely what I got called last night at a rehearsal for my local masonic lodge because I said ‘no’ when offered a drink.
The ‘C-word’ in Scotland has nothing like the shock value that it has in other parts of the world, but it still stung. Does that mean there was some truth to it?
Usually, I'd talk about how it made me feel at an AA meeting, but since I'm not going to meetings now, I'm going to talk about it here. You never know; it might be helpful to others out there who don't go to meetings and worry about bar situations like this.
It’s not so much the name-calling that bothers me - that's on the other guy, not me. What's bothering me is the resentment that I'm feeling. I don't want to be carrying resentment around with me.
I left the bar without saying anything, but then the dialogues in my head started swirling round and round - you know, all the things I should've said, beating myself up for being pathetic at not standing up for myself. But I know that if I had spoken up, I'd probably have ended up wishing I'd said something different, so in that respect, it's probably good that I didn't say anything.
But it was still bothering me this morning, and it's still bothering me now. What happened to everything I learned from reading Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now? The message I took from that book was that all we have is the moment, so dwelling on the past is certainly not aligned with the man I want to be.
This morning, I sat out on the porch and meditated for fifteen minutes, with the winter sun shining down, a nice breeze blowing and the sound of birdsong in the trees. It was really nice, but the inner dialogues kept interrupting me. Bear in mind that I don't meditate often and am just beginning a 30-day challenge to get better at it.
I ended up composing an email to let the master of the masonic lodge know how I'm feeling, but I didn't send it before running it past my wife first. She encouraged me to change some bits that came across as sounding angry, and I'm very grateful that I have that loving relationship with my wife.
My place is not to judge anyone; my place is to love my fellow human. In the first place, brotherly love is what I get from freemasonry, so I shouldn't feel any resentment or anger. I'm a little disappointed that I’m experiencing these feelings. But I’m human, and it stung!
Talking it out here helps, and I find myself starting to feel calm as I write these lines on my screen.
Should I have sent that email? Possibly not. But I'm not a doormat, and I composed it thoughtfully and with a second pair of loving eyes. So now I've put my feelings out there, and I hope to get a loving response.
It was a throw-away insult delivered in the heat of the moment and in front of an audience. A ‘few haufs’ had already been consumed before my arrival, and it’s not like I’ve never said things I regret while under the influence. Maybe I should have been a little kinder. I acknowledge that.
It’s certainly not the first time I’ve had someone ruffle their feathers at my not taking a drink with them, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I’m well aware of the cultural norms in Scotland and have undoubtedly been that guy myself, pushing someone to take a drink with me when they didn’t really want to.
The whole incident has taught me a lesson though: that becoming part of the ‘inner circle’ as I approach becoming the master of the lodge isn’t something I care about. I’m very happy within the social circles that are important to me and I hope that I can grow towards caring less about what people I don’t care about think of me. In a strange way, it’s given me confidence to take the chair and be the kind of master I want to be, not the master that certain others would wish me to be.