The Journey of a Young Freemason
For the past year and a half I have been a Freemason, having been raised to the degree of Master Mason in March of 2010. The stated communication after having been raised, I was sitting in the Junior Master of Ceremonies chair. I am now Senior Master of Ceremonies, which is a position I really enjoy.
I especially like that during degrees, the Masters of Ceremonies get to spend most of the "down time" with the candidates. It brings back some of the excitement of when you were a candidate, not sure what to expect, and lets you see the degrees afresh all over again. Because there is not much ritual work that you have to memorize as a MoC, I've supplemented this by being the "go-to-guy" in my lodge for Questions and Answers. I also assist the other officers during degree practice by being a combination prompter/fill in for other chairs that may not be present at every practice. This has given me the very rewarding opportunity to really get steeped in the ritual, and hopefully improves my knowledge and makes me a better Mason. I am the youngest member of our lodge by at least 15 years, so it's great to see the older members come and complement me on a job well done after doing Q&A after a degree. It's a great opportunity to learn from some Brothers who have been Masons for 50+ years.
The Master of our lodge when I was initiated was serving his second stint in the East the year I was born. Cricket is a great friend and a wonderful mentor. One of the best parts of a normal lodge night (when we don't have a degree on the Trestle Board) is to stop for a drink or two afterwards with some of the guys. There's great camaraderie and conversation, and it's a great opportunity to learn.
Masonry in America is at a crossroads. Membership has dwindled since the boom days of the 1950s, and many lodges are aging faster than they can replace their members. One thing our District Grand Lecturer said to us once which has always stuck with me is a story he told about an elderly Mason he knew who lay dying. His friends, family and close lodge brothers were visiting with him, and one of them said to him "how are you going to replace yourself?" The elderly Mason looked at him quizzically, "I don't know many young people." The Brother replied "Don't you have any younger family?" The dying Mason replied "Well, my son-in-law is a good man, but why would he listen to me?" His friend looked at him, raised an eyebrow, and said "You're on your deathbed. He'll listen to you." The family and friends were dismissed and the elderly man asked for his son-in-law to be called in. They talked for twenty minutes, and at the end of their meeting the son-in-law had agreed to petition the lodge. The elderly Mason died a few days later.
Some friends have asked me why I would want to spend 2 nights a month with a bunch of older guys. I reply that they have a wealth of wisdom and experience that I can draw from. Before our society became so stratified into age groups, where everyone believes that those older than them do not understand them, and those younger have nothing to offer, generations mixed, mingled and socialized much more freely. I have been lucky to be in a lodge where the older members freely accepted me into lodge, even when I had a Mohawk. They treat me like an equal and a brother, and I believe for them I represent the future of The Craft. I hope any Mason reading this would be encouraged to seek out those younger men he knows who he believes would be a good fit for Masonry.
I hope to use this blog to chronicle my journey as a Mason. We all know we are ever engaged in the process of understanding the Ritual, The Craft, and the true meanings of Masonry throughout our lives.
I will also from time to time be reviewing a few books. I love reading, and this enthusiast extends to Freemasonry.