I find it astounding that the online dictionary defines “Brotherhood” simply as: The relationship between brothers. This is, of course, accurate from a naive and plain point of view. However this, in no way, can come close to the true meaning of the idea.
My first year attending Keyman (Pennsylvania DeMolay’s week long leadership conference) I was a fairly new and scrawny DeMolay. I couldn’t speak in front of people, had no clue how to even handle suits or professional attire, and barely had scratched the surface of all of our Orders facets and faces. But there I was, in the frighteningly large, open, and fancily decorated Memorial Hall, checking in for my first Keyman Conference. I had no idea I would change so much in a single week. After checking in and saying goodbye, my grandparents left and I was greeted by one of my group Advisors for the week, Dad Ullom. He showed me to my room, and I was the first one there. As I sat silently amid the 6 bunk-beds, I wondered how my weekend would pan out. One by one, new faces were ushered into the room by Dad Ullom, and more bags filled the room. Nervously, I decided it would be a good idea to introduce myself, as I knew I would be with the other boys all week. I was a little surprised when they were calm, nonchalant even about meeting a new DeMolay. I was even more stunned when, as the group began to slowly unpack, we started talking.
We started talking about ourselves, what chapter we were from, how cool we thought Dad Ullom’s mustache was, what we were going to be doing all week and any topic that came up through our conversation. We started laughing and getting more comfortable, slowly trying to remember each others name and faces. There was an air of certainty, a reassuring feeling that this weekend would be a lot better than I anticipated. As Dad Ullom came to bring us to the opening session, I felt both excitement similar to that of riding a roller coaster, and completely at ease as though nothing could harm me. And it was while leaving the room, during the rush of boys heading out the door, I felt a hand on my shoulder. There was no reason, to this day I don’t know who it was, but it was that moment that it dawned on me. Everyone in that room, heck everyone on the campus, was my brother.
The rest of the week went great, of course. My days were filled with learning, sports, ritual work, conducting chapter business and meetings. My nights were filled with card games, laughter, and ------------. But every moment of that conference, and even to this day, the sense of brotherhood at DeMolay events makes it different than anything else in the world.
So what is brotherhood? What is that invincible feeling when you’re with your brothers, and what makes...