Have You Made Your Mark?
by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bill Hosler, PM
Any Mason who has advanced through the degrees of the York Rite knows the meaning of “Making your mark”. For those companions and Sir Knights it means they have added their “Mark” to a book symbolically linking them to the cathedral builders of ancient times. Most of you created your mark and handed it to the recorder of the group and went on with life and the other degrees.
In the world of the profane most people believe the phrase “Making your mark” means you have created a long lasting impression on someone or the world itself. You have added something positive that will be remembered after you passed to the Celestial lodge above. It's another Masonic phrase that has become a household word even though the original meaning has faded away.
One question I ask myself is “Have I made a mark on my lodge?” Years from now, once I leave this planet will the members of my lodge remember me or any of my works? Will something I have done or said be referenced years from now?
Many will say “Of course I will be remembered. My picture is on the wall of the lodge with the other Past Masters!” But is your photograph, along with 100 other men leaving your mark? How many times have you looked at one of these photos and truly known anything about the man in the photo? Usually I just look at them and think how much the clothing styles have changed since the year the photo was taken. In my opinion the photo is a memorial not a lasting impression.
Some would say the best way to leave your mark would be in your active participation in lodge. Being a long time lodge secretary or being the chairman of a committee for several decades would leave a lasting impression. These are great ways to serve your lodge. But make no mistake, after several years the memory of your participation will wither away.
In my humble opinion the best way to leave your mark on the lodge is the way in which you interact with your Brethren and teach them to become better men and Masons. Whether you realize it or not, the other Brethren look at you, especially the younger men and hold you up to be an example of how they should conduct themselves in life as well as inside a tiled lodge room. These men want and need guidance on their journey through the Craft!
These men begin judging us from the moment they walk through our front door of your temple. If they walk in the door and see a building in disrepair, dingy walls, broken furniture and get “hit in the face” with that familiar “old person smell” like they are walking into their grand parents house that will leave a lasting impression but sadly not a good one.
These young men are looking for positive men and a positive atmosphere which will help them become better men. When they see you sitting on the sidelines chatting while the lodge is conducting candidates during degree work, falling asleep or the lodge having the same argument every month during a stated meeting, it won't take them long to realize we don't have the answers which they are looking for or even worse, we aren't providing what we tell these men we give them when they ask for a petition. Remember Brethren these men are the ones who are checking to see how square your ashlar truly is.
It has now been many years since that warm night in June when I first knocked on the door of my lodge and asked to be made a Mason. But I will never forget the Brethren assembled who befriended me and taught me how to be a just and upright Mason and a better man. Sadly many of these Brothers now are no longer with us but I think about them each and everyday. Their memories bring a smile to my face. Each one of these men “Made their mark” on my soul and created lifelong memories for me. Many of the things these Brethren taught me, I try to convey to you in my writings.
I hope some of my words inspire you to be a better man and Freemason and help me “Make my mark” upon your living stone and in turn, help me honor these men.
WB Bill Hosler was made a Master Mason in 2002 in Three Rivers Lodge #733 in Indiana. He served as Worshipful Master in 2007 and became a member of the internet committee for Indiana's Grand Lodge. Bill is currently a member of Roff Lodge No. 169 in Roff Oklahoma and Lebanon Lodge No. 837 in Frisco,Texas. Bill is also a member of the Valley of Fort Wayne Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in Indiana. A typical active Freemason, Bill also served as the High Priest of Fort Wayne's Chapter of the York Rite No. 19 and was commander of of the Fort Wayne Commandery No. 4 of the Knight Templar. During all this he also served as the webmaster and magazine editor for the Mizpah Shrine in Fort Wayne Indiana.