The Other Side of the Cable Tow

Each of us, as Master Masons, knelt before the Alter and heard, "Cable Tow in Masonry, means health and business permitting". This phrase could be amended to include your family. Certainly each of us would and do put the welfare of our families ahead of attending Masonic meetings. Although "your family" is not expressly included, no Mason would ever fault another for including it in his heart and actions.

For many years I looked to my "Cable Tow" and its meaning to me, to aid me in making decisions; whether or not to drive two or three hours to attend a Grand Lodge function, whether or not to visit friends in need of company both in and out of the Fraternity and innumerable other decisions on a daily basis. You see, the "Cable Tow" concept, extends far beyond Masonry. It is that inner voice we each have that guides us through every day. We each can and should take great pride that our Forebrothers gave us this symbolic mechanism. Masonry doesn't profess to be a religion and it never will. All the Holy Writs used throughout the world, upon which we each take our obligations and look to each day for guidance, clearly outline, through symbolism, exactly what is just and right. The "Cable Tow" is our non-sectarian version. The "Cable Tow" can be thought of in the physical sense as well as symbolically. Its dual nature is why it has lasted and passed the test of time. It is as valuable today as it was for our Forebrothers and will still be a guiding light for time immemorial.

I mentioned the dual nature of our "Cable Tow" when recently I have realized that there is a third dimension to it that I feel is less tangible but not less important. Your "Cable Tow" has two ends. The one you hold, the other you extend. We normally think of how far we should extend our "Cable Tow" when making decisions about ourselves. Should I go the meeting? Should I visit a friend? How much should I donate and where? The other end of your "Cable Tow", as extended by you, deals in the less physical nature of our being. How far should I extend my "Cable Tow" in accepting the rights, decisions and feelings of others. Not in judgement, but in acceptance.

We each view ourselves and others through paradigms we have constructed to establish our views of the world. Modifying these paradigms is not easily accomplished. First you have to want to modify them, then you must force yourself to consciously evaluate what you perceive. Is it true or only true to me at this moment in time? Could it ever be less true under different conditions? Should I decide to do or say something that at this moment feels wrong, just to force myself to grow in acceptance of anothers' truth that differs from my own? These questions and thousands like them need to be addressed every day. The "Cable Tow" provides that vehicle. When you extend it, even an inch, to accept anothers' truth, different from your own, you lay the foundation for future growth and maturity.

Each of us is on a journey. The path we choose is not a one lane road. It divides with each step we take. The width and clarity of the path is determined by "The Other Side of the Cable Tow". As we extend it to accept anothers' perspective, we broaden our own paths. Please understand that accepting anothers' perspective does not mean agreeing. You still must decide for yourself which fork in the path you must take and accept that they may take another. Acceptance only makes your decisions easier and the way clearer and you will leave less debris behind for others to clean up. I ask that you each accept that you are on a journey and that the paths you choose affect others. Choose wisely!