Now your year is coming to an end. Where, you wonder, did the time go? It all went by so quickly. Suddenly you realize you are traveling near lightspeed toward the event horizon… that point of no return… of the great black hole of Freemasonry: life after being Master of your Lodge.
Maybe it doesn't hit you right away. Oh, those first few weeks after your term is over… that sweet era when the responsibility void hits, when the burdens of leadership rest on someone else's shoulders, when you get to go to meetings, plan nothing, do nothing, and wear that sporty new Past Master's apron… is a nirvana reserved for a precious few… the newly minted junior Past Master.
But it's an illusion. You eventually realize you've been sucked into the great void. Oblivion awaits. You can't sit on the North, heckling the ritual performance forever. You can only take so much listening to debates about the menu at the next dinner, reading of the minutes, and grousing about the outrageous bill to fix the air conditioner. You realize they can do all of this without you. Weeks ago, you were the most important guy in the Lodge. Now you are, by your standard, irrelevant. You're not even the top-dog of all the Past Masters. You're at the bottom of the barrel. And like anything that reaches singularity in a black hole, you disappear. Experience shows us it happens to many, possibly the majority of Past Masters. They gradually stop coming to meetings, fade away, and leave us wondering whatever happened to them.
As you try to fight this trend instead of "whence came you," a new question pops up: "whence go you," or more simply, "now what?" The fact is most of us don't want to sit around doing nothing. We need relevance, something to do, a goal, a project, a responsibility, a raison d'être.
Part of your planning as you approach the East should be to figure out what you will do when it's all over. Your Lodge has many needs you can fill: maybe it needs a new Lodge Education Officer, an appointed office filled, a mentor for new initiates, a Lodge historian, someone to take the helm of a civic project or, God forbid, a new Secretary. There are also appendant bodies to consider. The York and Scottish Rites especially offer more opportunities for the Masonic education, fellowship, and community service we crave. Grand Lodge committees always need staffing. You might even put together an article for the Midnight Freemasons.
Whatever you do, vow to stay active; and the activities you choose should include those that keep you coming back the foundation of our Fraternity – your Lodge.