Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God givith thee.      Exodus 20:12 The Fifth Commandment

Jack E. Dotson, 32, K.C.C.H.
Yorba Linda, California

The Fifth Commandment addresses our earthly contacts, appropriately placing our fathers and mothers first.

A good friend recently dropped by as I was about to depart on an errand, and he accepted my invitation to go along. After completing my mission, he asked if I had time to share a special moment with him. Of course, I did. We drove to Fairhaven Cemetery in Santa Ana where we stopped along a certain roadway. He got out and strode to a special spot where, with bowed head, he reverently observed three grave markers flush with the earth. After a while, I sensed that he wanted me to join him, and I did. “This is Momma, and this is Dad” he said in a choked voice, “and this is my little brother”. Noting the birth and death dates of all three, I inquired about his brother. He was just two years old when God took him into His arms. I learned that this child was a very bright and alert little boy who liked to sit by his father when he played the piano, but the child was suddenly stricken with dysentery and did not survive.

My friend then proceeded to point out other family graves, about ten in all, in the same area of the cemetery. Five members of his family had succumbed to influenza in 1918. He spoke softly and tenderly of them all, and it seemed he wanted me to understand how totally proud he was of not only his parents and brother, but of all his aunts, uncles, and cousins who now share eternity in such close proximity. He told me that the day before had been the anniversary of his mother’s passing. She had lived in excess of ninety years. Heavy rain the day prior had prompted him to wait a day for his very special visit so the sunshine might add warmth to their reunion. It occurred to me that he might better have been alone during this visit with his beloved family, but his actions assured me that he felt a need for my companionship at that particular time.

As we drove home, I learned much about my friend’s childhood so many years ago; the little happenings so important to a child; things remembered long after a lifetime of experiences have been forgotten; love, confusion, and disappointment. Perhaps he really wanted to say these things to his mother, and I was a kind of sounding board. Somehow, I believe his mother heard every word.

In perusing the Holy Bible, I note that the first four Commandments relate to the duties of man to God. The Fifth Commandment is the first to address our earthly contacts. It seems fitting that the Creator placed fathers and mothers so immediately after Himself, perhaps because from time immemorial, man had been duplicated in His image, and thence in the image of his parents.

I am proud to have a friend like this, a Mason who would have followed this Commandment even if God’s finger had not written it in stone.

The above article is reprinted with permission from the March 1995 Santa Ana Valley Scottish Rite News.

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