I wrote this and thought "Man, if this wasn't a self affirmation, I don't know what is." Below comes
from the heart and I hope it doesn't pertain to you, but if it does, well... keep going.
You petitioned with eagerness and anxiety. You got the call that you were voted in. You received your first degree and thought, "Okay, not exactly what I expected, but cool." You proved your worth somehow or other and were told you would be receiving your 2nd degree, and more excitement filled your brain. You received your Fellowcraft degree and thought, "Wow, that was a bit more involved. Really cool." Then you make your regular progress and are told you will be receiving your Master Mason degree, "...the highest level in Freemasonry", you are told, ad nauseam.
After the 3rd degree, you sit in the lodge and ponder all there was in the degree; the lessons, the symbols and the incoherent rambling of a lecture you won't understand for years. But one thought trumps all, you are now a full fledged official Freemason. Congratulations!
Fast forward to your first unfavorable thoughts of the craft which started to enter your mind. You remember them. At first you thought you could just sweep them aside like crumbs on the floor. You've been in long enough now, to see the less than favorable peculiarities of the institution you once thought would make you truly a better man. Every organization has it's flaws and now you see them.
Squabbling over bills, dealing with the unwavering dogmatic religious requirements by varying jurisdictions, replacing the carpet, local lodge politics, cliques, appendant bodies playing tug-of-war with base lodge members. The honeymoon is over. Just like real life though, now it's time to get to work and do as "Red" says in the Shawshank Redemption, "Get busy livin' or get busy dyin'."
We come to these times frequently after being involved in the fraternity in a multitude of areas. We serve our lodge and deal with the constant shutting down of ideas, although some stick and work out, fueling you for the next implementation. You then get involved and you move around the lodge, district and maybe even the Grand Lodge, serving as a committee man or chairman, overseeing issues galore. All the while cursing this thing and loving it at the same time. This is the beginning of "Masonic Burnout", typically this happens to our new members, young or old, who want to hit the ground running.
The one thing we need to remember though, is that this is your time to shine. New members will see your zeal, they will see your servant leadership, they will see your tenacity in getting things done and pushing the craft into the next age. You might be struggling to reconcile membership or involvement after coming in and going strong for 2-5 years, and now seeing all the internal dynamics. It's easy to get disenchanted. The important thing to remember here is, that we have all been in that situation. When the thoughts about the fraternity in some way make you wish you didn't have to be involved and maybe even walk away from it all. Don't do it. Keep on pushing. Keep on making your voice heard and change will come and things, like life outside the fraternity, will get better. Be the example.
You are the keystone.
Bro. Robert Johnson, PM is the Managing Editor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Freemason out of the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. He currently serves as the Secretary of Waukegan Lodge No. 78 where he is a Past Master. He also serves as the Education officer for the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts weekly Podcasts (internet radio programs) Whence Came You? & Masonic Radio Theatre which focus on topics relating to Freemasonry. He is also a co-host of The Masonic Roundtable, a Masonic talk show. He is a husband and father of four, works full time in the executive medical industry and is also an avid home brewer. He is currently working on a book of Masonic essays and one on Occult Anatomy to be released soon.