Does Anyone Listen?
People who don't listen have been with us for thousands of years. You may recall that Phaeton wouldn't listen to Apollo and wound up dead. And remember Bellaphron, who rode Pegasus and wouldn't listen to Zeus and tried to ride Pegasus up to Olympus. Bellaphron lost his horse and his honor, and eventually died. Then there were Otus and Ephialtes, two brothers who were giants who wouldn't listen as they were warned not to mess around with Artemis, the goddess. They wound up dead, too.
Finally, we have Icarus who wouldn't listen to his daddy, Daedelus, and flew too close to the sun and died. These Greeks, did they ever listen? Well, thank goodness we're Elks, not ancient Greeks. We know how to listen. Your Lecturing Knight says, "Ever practice Brotherly Love." Notice he says ever, not sometimes, or just when you feel like it. Your Loyal Knight says, "Be just to your fellow man." That means be fair, be honest, be understanding. Your Leading Knight says, "Be charitable to all mankind." Your Exalted Ruler says, "Strive diligently that the name of Elk as borne by you may be worthy of an American citizen -- one who loves his fellow man."
Do you listen when they say those things? More importantly, do you live these ideals? As Elks we are not asked to be like everyone else -- we are committed to a life of higher calling. Our solemn oath requires that calling. Charity, Justice, Brotherly Love, Fidelity -- and a sense of belonging to something more important than ourselves; that's what we are called to do. If you're part of that, I guess you listen really well. But if you aren't part of that, you just aren't listening hard enough.
Listen: Anyone can be Phaeton or Bellaphron or Icarus or Otus, but there is only one you. You need to listen. We need you to listen.
~ Tom Williams Exalted Ruler, Raleigh Elks Lodge -- from the May 2004 lodge newsletter.