Get In The Game

Last week I was reminded that it was a mile marker for me. I received a card in the mail telling me that it was the 30th Anniversary of being a Mason. Now, while my first response was, ‘Hey! It’s my Anniversary!’ … what emotions followed after were a little eye opening. You see, time had gotten away from me, life had happened, families were made, children grew up and I had really not given any thought about the time invested in this organization until I had this card in my hand.


The letter that I received from the Grand Master of the Wisconsin Masonic Foundation.


An actual photo of friends and family that came to see/help with my Third Degree, August 3, 1992. Photo taken by Donald Gustafson…my Uncle.


For a very long time, when I saw the symbol of the fraternity – the square and compass – I thought of my Dad and his dedication to the order, my childhood growing up around these men (and women) and finally, that it was my Father’s last wish of me to become more involved in this order rather than sitting on the sidelines, just paying my dues, and then doing other things while making excuses for ‘life just came along.’ He wanted me to not just show up but to “get in the game.”

I didn’t understand that until years later. I joined a local Lodge and started making a name for myself with my cartoon work, participating in different bodies of the order and finally, my work with the Shriner’s and the kids. It comes so easy for me to sit down with a young patient, introduce myself, and just go from there and by the end I have made a friend. I can’t tell you what a rush it is to look back on those experiences and think that I am doing something that not only some cannot do but it makes someone else feel better; it shows a strong face for the organization and I feel better because of it. Everyone wins. And then it hit me …

… I got in the game.

I found a path and then took ownership of it! No, I am not running the show but again, I don’t need to! No, I do not get along with everybody all of the time but, I don’t need to. I just need to show up, check in and use whatever I have to share with somebody else. Then I started looking around and started seeing that this was happening in other parts of my life. It was happening with friends and family, it was happening at SERVPRO, it was happening with my neighbors – I just showed up, found a place, and did what I could!

I know that all of you have parts of your life that you just can’t stand, parts of your days that are LESS than desirable, people that you would just rather NOT deal with. HANG ON! Life is a series of small wins and losses that own your day and the first victory is to just show up! You don’t need to be in charge, you just need to be in the game. Take it, good or bad, it’s yours … so own it.

Bad day? Yes it was! Own it, and start again tomorrow. Nobody said that you have to carry everything, get rid of the bad days and hold onto the good ones, they make the days that you do win that much better.

When you get that “30th Anniversary card” and you look back over your time you can say, “Not everyday was a win, but I got a front row seat to every battle because I just showed up.” Here’s another one for your Victory List, every problem that you have ever faced in your life has now  passed and you are still here, read THAT again!

Go get ‘em!

Go Turn It Around!!


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