Masons in ages past put their marks upon their work, a symbol or initial to tie the object to themselves. It wasn't just quality control, but credit and reputation. Masters -- in stone, art, literature -- are known for their achievements. Even when works were not signed, their legacy was so notable that their name was preserved. Their masterpieces embodied them, and through them were immortalized.
What remains after our earthly existence? Generations will retell stories about us. High school trophy cases are graced with our photos. Our names are on donor plaques and memorial bricks. And if we do something wrong or unjust, our infamy will be whispered among associates and neighbors for decades. Maybe none of these are forever, but we as Masons believe our Charity (Love) is eternal.
Few will have a street named after them or their own Wikipedia entry. But everything we do has the potential to survive our mortality, even if our name is lost. The fruits of our hands, words, and other choices will live on. We may have affected the future of a company, a Lodge, a community, and society. No matter how small our contribution, the needle will move in part because of each of us. Even our absence of action is part of the equation. An artist's signature isn't always present or discernable, but it still says something about an author -- the image or footprint of a human being as if set in stone for all time.
What about being someone of your word? Integrity is known, not for intentions, platitudes, or even oaths, but as a record of our actions. Will we become a perpetual example to aspire to? Will we hope others can fill our shoes? Or will people hope someone "better" moves into our stations and places once we "check out"? Will our fate be a warning to others of what not to do or what to be like?
We worry about social media as if it's an invasion of privacy. But it is voluntary -- and painfully honest. It is perhaps today's biggest self-exposure and broadcast of one's character. All can know a tree by its fruit, even if the bushel is in the metaverse. But it's not about technology. Some people don't seem to leave a mark at all on our future, which is the reward of apathy and inaction. But most of us will, for better or worse, without even logging in.
We work against the backdrop of eternity. If we accept that everything we do and say may be forever recorded, our everyday work will be mindful, good, true, and square.