The past twelve months have been a year to remember, or maybe a year we would all like to forget. COVID deaths are now at 2.46 million worldwide and we are still in masks and under tight restrictions. In a normal year, I would say not many people give thought to eventually dying but this year is different. This year it is all around us. This year we are actively taking extra precautions to live more than we would at any other time. If you are a Mason, you should be prepared and okay with eventually passing away from this earth and into the next. But are we? And even if we are, are we making the most out of our time here? Life is short and we need to make it count.
In our Masonic Rites given at the funeral of Freemasons we say ‘the cradle and the coffin stand side by side…that at the moment you begin to live, you also begin to die.’ I was discussing this line with a friend who pointed out that scientifically that was not exactly accurate, which is okay by me because much of our teachings are symbolic and not meant to be literal. After a little digging though, I found that we actually begin to die around the age of 25. Not that that is any better! We are fresh out of school beginning our careers, starting families, understanding how mortgages and 401k(s) work and you are rewarded with the process of dying. How lovely! But this lesson teaches us the urgency of living a fulfilling life pleasing to our creator, our families, and our communities. Whatever you have on your to-do list, do it NOW. What are you waiting for? My grandpa once told me if you wait until you have time to do something, you will never do it.
In a song called Death Bed by Powfu he says this:
“Yeah, I don't wanna fall asleep, I don't wanna pass away
I been thinking of our future 'cause I'll never see those days”
Can you imagine being on your deathbed knowing you did not give it everything you had? Are you forming relationships with people, so you have a legacy? Everything that I am today is due to someone else giving me their time and teachings. I hope to be their legacy even if it's just bits and pieces of me. Do the same for someone else. As 1 Corinthians says "Charity extends beyond the grave, through the boundless realms of eternity."
So, love your people today, tomorrow, and the next day. Don’t wait until the funeral to give your speech about them. Say it now, write it now. I fall into this trap constantly. I get too busy to slow down and make that extra phone call or go out of my way for that extra visit. I have never regretted an extra effort and you won’t either.
As my middle school basketball coach liked to say “Life’s short, shoot the ball!”
WB Christopher J. Hathaway was raised in Catlin Masonic Lodge #285 and is a plural member of Normal Masonic Lodge #673 as well as Bloomington Lodge #43, where he is a Past Master. He belongs to the Valley of Danville, AASR where he is the Most Wise Master of the George E. Burow Chapter of Rose Croix and Membership Chairman. He is the Oriental Guide in the Divan for the Mohammed Shiners, and the 1st Vice President of the Bloomington Shrine Club. Other appendant bodies include the Gao Grotto and the Illinois Lodge of Research. Outside of the lodge, he enjoys spending time with his wife Taylor and cheering on the Fighting Illini and Chicago Cubs.