Now, just a little background: this brother had joined our lodge when I was still basically new, and very excited about everything Masonry had to offer. (As opposed to today, when I am still basically new, and very excited about everything Masonry has to offer.) At the time, my job allowed me quite a bit of freedom to take a few hours during the day to meet with brothers for lunch, or coffee, and to sit and talk and soak in all the wisdom I could. A few times, I met with this specific brother, and I still treasure the things I was able to learn from him.
As I said, his comment has been bothering me since I first read it, and one of the luxuries afforded to me as a Midnight Freemason (aside from the high pay and excellent benefits package) is that I can answer statements like that, and while he may never read it, I’ve at least had the chance to say it, and it’s a weight taken off my chest.
My brother, I’m sorry to say that you missed the whole point. Those thing that you found to be onerous, I find to be a never-ending source of joy and inspiration in my life.
I don’t think that any reader here will be surprised to learn that business meetings are, generally speaking, boring. They are a necessary evil that allows us to continue to function; they are the secular world invading the sacred space, however if we don’t pay our bills, we no longer have an organization.
In a perfect world, our business meetings could be exceptionally short affairs, where we meet simply to pay the bills, perhaps give some money to charity, and then adjourn to the library to discuss loftier ideals and improve our inner selves. In our imperfect reality, certain rules have to be followed so that those with mercenary motives cannot infiltrate our society and tear us apart from the inside. Things such as keeping and reading the minutes, the report of the Treasurer, and committee reports all help protect us. While they are not exciting or fun, they are so vitally important that we should treat them with the proper respect they deserve.
Ritual practice, while not the most enjoyable time for most people, is what allows us to continue to perform our initiation rituals at the peak level that our new candidates deserve. It forces us to focus on the impression we give to our candidates, and find ways to improve that so that they, in turn, can carry us into the future.
Of course, these “boring” parts of Masonry generally don’t exist in a vacuum. Before our meetings and our practices we eat, and around the dinner tables true friendships are formed, and our bonds of brotherhood are strengthened. Our dining hall rings with laughter, with a free exchange of ideas, with love and caring for each other, and for our families. Those things you believed were lacking were right there, available to you, and all it cost was a little bit of your time.
WB. Bro. Adam Thayer is the Senior Warden of Lancaster Lodge No. 54 in Lincoln (NE) and a past master of Oliver Lodge No. 38 in Seward (NE). He’s an active member in the Knights of Saint Andrew, and on occasion remembers to visit the Scottish and York Rites as well. He continues to be reappointed to the Grand Lodge of Nebraska Education Committee, and serves with fervency and zeal. He is a sub-host on The Whence Came You podcast, and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will not help you get your whites whiter or your brights brighter, but he does enjoy conversing with brothers from around the world!