Musings Of A First Degree Apprentice
By Brother Martin Jansen van Vuuren
“Our life, Sir, is so very similar to a journey that even in the earliest ages it was compared to one.
The journey which you have now performed typifies the difficulties of life to which we must submit, voluntary or involuntary, and which we cannot foresee; for like blind travellers we stumble forward on the journey of life.
The decrees of Providence seem dark to us, but often they tend to our purification and sanctification since they incite us to self-examination.
Not always, however, are the heavens clouded; often the sun most unexpectedly breaks through the clouds and the previous darkness is succeeded by bright day.
Yes, life also has its joys, of which, as of its troubles, the wise man knows how to avail himself to fortify the powers of his mind.”
Brethren, as you well know this is the meaning of the first journey in the first degree.
Following my initiation into the first degree I read this explanation in the ritual and pondered its meaning. It was not, however, until I had to deliver this charge during a subsequent first degree initiation that I really discovered a deeper meaning in each line. Initially I felt I grasped the overall meaning of the first journey, but it wasn’t until I had to learn it by heart that I delved deeper and pondered every word.
For me this re-examination typifies the journey that is Freemasonry. The entered apprentice is urged to “Know Thyself”, but to really “Know Thyself” a man needs to constantly evaluate and re-evaluate what he knows about himself. This, for me, is where the craft guides a brother upon his journey. Discovering the meanings upon first contact, but then re-walking the path and rediscovering new and deeper meanings. A journey of self discovery that continuously provide new insight even if the same ground is covered again and again.
As an entered apprentice I have barely started this journey and am only now, slowly, starting to gather the knowledge and insights that are revealed and discovered through my journey. There is much to learn, much to discover and just when you feel you have grasped the true meaning of life, the universe and everything, you realise that the answer of 42 is more insightful than you have ever imaged. For those Brethren that are a bit confused regarding this reference, I refer you to the book “The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy”.
Brethren all, but particularly those from the Lodge de Goede Verwachting, I thank you for your guidance and assistance with my journey. I hope to have a long and mutually insightful journey with you.