I believe this remains a lesson for me and many of us finding ourselves taking on offices, tasks, and responsibilities within Freemasonry. We need to focus on “just enough” in balancing our 24-inch gauge, in keeping circumscribed in our passions, and especially in remaining square and level. I sometimes find it difficult to remember the Masonic Lost Word of, “no” when asked by respected Brothers to step up and take on additional responsibilities. Personal growth means opening ourselves to the new, to the stretch goals of finding a way to do more in our lives. But how do we push that goal to be better every day, to expand our minds, and to take on these additional challenges? I want to succeed in my every task. I want to exceed all expectations. I competitively want to be the best Grand High Exalted PooBah Commander Emperor that the Masonic world ever saw. But that’s the rub, isn’t it? Freemasonry is showing us a lesson in ego into which too many become trapped along an extreme of one side or the other.
The Pillar of Too Little is the other extreme, as "Idle hands are the Devil's work" reminds us. We find ourselves passively sitting on the sidelines, or declining invitations. We take on a responsibility then push away others making excuses like lack of time. This important down time, or time for recreating yourself, refreshes, heals, and refocuses. Finding a means to structure our down time is maybe, more important than how we focus on our projects or responsibilities. We balance away from, "too little" not by simply taking on more responsibility, but by actively pursuing recreational options. A walk in a park, a nap while watching NASCAR, and creating play time with children or family members, all makes for refreshing options to give us a reprieve from the, "Pillar of Too Much."
The lesson of balance becomes just enough in a world of declining membership and consolidation. When we take on responsibilities, it feels difficult to keep our heads above the water at times. An officer in this line, a secretary of this other body, committee memberships, Grand Lodge responsibilities, taking on other Masonic responsibilities…, and suddenly all the meetings pile up like a bad multi-car collision. The difference is, we can do “just enough” and be completely successful. We should do “just enough” to be completely successful. Does that mean dues cards come out late again this year? Of course. Does that mean minutes get posted a few days after the meeting and not directly afterward? Sure. But they get posted. Dues cards are sent. I'm not saying ignore deadlines and due dates, quite the opposite. Be responsible to those expectations. The business of the Craft gets completed, ritual learned and delivered maybe imperfectly but better than last time, and we do just enough to get the job done. That’s how we keep this fraternity moving forward. That’s how we bring more good men into the fraternity. With a stretch, If we all do just enough by keeping our lives and Freemasonry in balance, we will continue to be successful.
Brother Randy Sanders is a lodge education officer in two Missouri blue lodges, co-librarian of the Valley of St. Louis, Secretary of the Academy of Reflection, and active in York/AMD. He lives in the suburbs of St. Louis, enjoys Chinese martial arts/chi kung, reading, Western esoterics, and cooking.