noun: brotherhood; plural noun: brotherhoods
|synonyms:||comradeship, fellowship, brotherliness, fraternalism, kinship; More
“the ideals of justice and brotherhood”
the feeling of kinship with and closeness to a group of people or all people.
“a gesture of solidarity and brotherhood”
“a religious brotherhood”
|synonyms:||society, fraternity, association, alliance, union, league, guild, order, body, community, club, lodge, circle
“a masonic brotherhood”
The one word that everyone screams and preaches. The one word that resonates within the ranks of every club, group, riding association, union, religion, lodge and even among the ranks of law enforcement. It is the call word for bringing everyone together and the cry when things are going awry. What brings about this conception of fellowship, kinship, camaraderie? What makes us think that we can have this without fault or failure? Who do we do when this staple in our club lives is in question?
What we want
We all know and feel in our hearts that we are not meant to be alone. Sure there are times when we just need to get some “wind therapy” and get out on our bikes and feel the wind in our faces. We don’t call anyone. We don’t tell anyone where we are going. We don’t need a large group and don’t want it. We want to ride where we want to go. We want to ride as fast as we want and how we want without worrying about anyone else. It’s that time when we unleash the worries and stresses of life and just renew our energies.
But when we return, we search out others. Our family. Our children. Wives and girlfriends. That need for companionship is built inside of us. In the very first book of the Bible in the 2nd chapter, God said, “it is not good for man to be alone.” So he made us a partner. A companion. We were not created to be alone. We were created to be WITH others. To live life ALONGSIDE others. God Himself knew in the very beginning of time that we needed someone else to live life with.
Throughout time, men have been looking for somewhere to belong. Most of us have families that we come home to, friends we hang out with, maybe a church that we attend and people we work with. But we long for that something extra, that something special. We have this emptiness, this void that needs to be filled with likeminded men, that love the same things we do, that believe in the same things we do, that ride like we do, that live the lifestyle we do.
What we Do
We join a club. We do the research and figure out which one would best fit what we want and we go for it. We find a contact. Maybe we know someone. We do whatever we can to make sure that they know that I will be an asset if they let me in.
I want this. I want it bad. I see the rides. I see the posts where they meet and party and do charitable events. More rides. The colors are amazing. I want to wear those colors. Those colors mean everything to those guys. They are their identity. Everyone knows who they are. They are respected. I want that respect.
I made the contact. I sent the message. I filled out the paperwork. I’ve met the chapter. They said I could hang around.
What I See
These guys are the bomb. They have meetings once a month at their clubhouse. They get together and have cigars on the front porch of the clubhouse all the time. They hang out with each other. They talk to each other constantly on their group chat and social media. They ride all the time.
I’m working my butt off. I clean the clubhouse. I go and pick up things. I do whatever they ask of me. It’s not that bad. I don’t care what it is. This is what I want. I want it more than anything. They treat me ok. They don’t call me “brother” yet like they do each other. But they will. I am proving myself to them every single day that I am worthy to be called “brother.” I see this thing they call “brotherhood.” They will do anything for each other. Whenever someone has a need they do everything they can to help. One day a member was broke down on the side of the road. One phone call and another member was there with a trailer to haul it back and help him fix it. That’s just the beginning. It happens every day.
I’m not in the meetings. They lock the door and I watch from the outside to make sure nobody goes in. I’m eager to get in there. I want to be in there. I want to know what goes on. I’m not on the members group pages on social media. I don’t know what is going on in the club around the world. I want to know. I’m all in. This is for life. I will wear that “Club Forever, Forever Club” patch. I will earn those hard to get patches.
Who I am
My birthday was yesterday. Not the celebration of the date of when I was born, but the day I received my patches in this club. I earned it. I did everything I was asked and more. It didn’t take me long to get those patches sewn on. I couldn’t wait. The lady said they would be ready today. I’m picking them up and going for a ride right after work. Everyone will know WHO I AM now. This is who I am. This club is who I am. I am a BROTHER.
This is what I’ve wanted. This is what I’ve worked for. This is what I need in my life. Sure I have a great wife, awesome kids…my family is the world to me. But now I have that sense of belonging to something – that void is now filled in my life. Prospecting was hard. But it’s all going to be worth it.
When the Reality Sets In
This is not really what I had pictured. This is not really what I thought it would be. All those times that I stood outside the door wondering what was going on inside. Now I know. All of these men are different. They have all been raised different. They grew up in different socio-economic classes. They all were raised by different parents with different sets of values. They all have different beliefs, different sets of character traits, different gifts and talents, different ideas and thoughts.
They argue sometimes. We vote on things for the chapter and everyone has a different opinion. Some want to do charitable events. Some just want to ride. Some want to have parties. Some just want to hang out. Some want to do big events and rides. Some just want us to keep to ourselves. I didn’t really see this when I was on the outside looking in. It’s different. But I’m sticking with it. I am not quitting.
I’m on the social media pages and groups now. Members post all the time, “good morning.” Members post every day about some ride that they did or some event that they had. Members all over the world are chiming in. I’ve got Social Media friends that I can’t even read what they are saying because it’s in another language. They may not speak my language. But we wear the same patch. We are brothers. That is so cool.
Today someone posted they are quitting. They said they just “can’t deal with the drama anymore.” I don’t know what they mean. They live in another state. They are from another chapter. But I really don’t understand what could be so bad that that would make them want to give up something like this. Is it really that bad there? I don’t know. Not sure if I want to know.
What am I to do?
I wasn’t mistaken. I know this is what I wanted. I see this club every day in some way and I see the greatness that it holds. I see the positive affect it is having on my life. I have that sense of belonging. I feel the love between brothers that I needed so badly…that I wanted so badly. I also see that this “drama” is such a small part of what makes up the whole that it is easy to stay out of. I refuse to get wrapped up in it. I know that I must concentrate on me and doing the best that I can do to do my part in making this club what it should be.
I have thoughts and concerns. I have ideas that I want to share. I have in my mind the direction that our chapter needs to go in. I have convictions about what we need to be doing and how it needs to be done. I believe I know who will be best for President.
But I know it’s not all about me. I am only a small part of the whole. I will be willing to listen to what others think…what others want…what others believe. I must constantly remind myself that this chapter does not exist to please me. This club does not exist for me. It is the other way around. Every decision we make must be for what is best for the club, even though that may not be what is best for me. If I make it about me, and force what I want on others, that is not what is best for the club. It will drive a wedge between me and others and drive a stake right into the heart of brotherhood.
If I don’t get my way, and cry and moan and don’t speak to others and distance myself…where is the brotherhood? If I constantly miss meetings and come up with every excuse in the book, where is the brotherhood in that? If I just speak to everyone on social media and group chats but never see another brother face to face, where is the brotherhood? Comradery, friendship, fellowship…all of these words that are used to describe brotherhood take place when we are TOGETHER.
It’s up to me. I have to make a life decision to give it everything I have. I have to make the decision that I will NOT make this all about me. I have to want what is best for the club, not what is best for me all the time. If, I want a better club, made up of better chapters, filled with better officers, leading better members, guiding better prospects…it starts with ME.
Every thought, every attitude, every decision, every statement makes a difference. I am the key to whether this “brotherhood” is a success or failure. I am only a small part of the whole picture. But every small part makes up the whole. I will be a living, breathing, healthy part of the whole, and not the cancer that is slowly killing the body. I have made that decision.
No matter what happens. No matter what is said. No matter what is done. At the end of the day I will slap your leather and tell you I love you. You are my brother. You are family. Families argue, fuss and fight. But they are still family – In blood and in name. We wear the same patch. We are in the same family. We are brothers. And together we make up this amazing brotherhood – this family. No family is without it’s problems. But I’m not going to be one of them.