Extending the Twenty-Four Inch Gauge

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
Bro. Erik M. Geehern

As I write this it has been approximately twenty-four hours since I sat in the East for the very first time. Yesterday I had the honor of conferring the Entered Apprentice degree on two new Brothers of our Lodge. This was our Lodge's first EA degree since June of 2021, and the first degree ever in our new building.

My usual vocation is in restaurant consulting and sales, and I work six days a week consistently. Saturday is my only day off, which is why I scheduled the degree for that day. It led to better attendance and as many of our Brothers are older, they do not want to be getting home super late on a Monday night, which is our usual meeting day.

As Junior Warden it was also my responsibility to provide the meal for this degree. Since this was a Summoned Communication on a Saturday afternoon, I decided we would have a nice brunch prior to the degree. The menu consisted of a few different egg dishes, scones, a few different baked French toast dishes, sausage gravy and biscuits, potatoes, and yogurt and fruit parfaits. Of course, when I decided on the menu, I was not considering my wife would be away and unable to assist in getting everything together, but luckily my sixteen-year-old son was able to help me the morning of.

With his assistance I was able to pull everything together in time, get to the Lodge and set up before the majority of people came in hungry, and finish my personal preparations to get ready for the Degree itself. The meal was very well received, and I received many compliments from the Brethren in attendance.

A normal stated meeting of our Lodge sees attendance of between eight to twelve Brothers on average. I was thrilled to see that about twenty-five Brothers attended the degree, many from neighboring Lodges. This was the first time in our new Lodge room that all the chairs had bodies in them, even in the North and it was fantastic to see. I think it is such an amazing thing when so many like-minded people come together in a common purpose, in this instance the initiation of two worthy men into our Fraternity.

Overall, the day was fantastic, and ranks as one of the single best events of my Masonic journey. Sure, there were a few hiccups, a missed line here or there, but nothing that could have potentially detracted from the experience of initiation for our two new Brothers, and that is all that really mattered.

One thing that really stood out to me was how many Brothers approached me to say how they didn't know how I had time to get everything done with my busy work schedule. Not trying to be braggadocious, but I hear this so often, whether in regards to educational pieces I put together, creating our quarterly newsletter, or preparing our meeting meals. It really comes down to one simple thing, if something is truly important to you, it is easy to find the time.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said “One always has time enough, if one will apply it well.” I have certainly found that to be true. Prior to becoming a Mason, I was working like a dog. Seventy plus hour weeks, lots of travel, not enough family time, most of us have been in that rut before. Since then, I have really taken the lessons of our working tools to heart, especially that of the twenty-four inch gauge. Now, I am not saying I divide my time the way we are taught, rather it is understanding the concept of finding balance. After all, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

While I was internalizing our lessons, I started to discover a lot about myself. While I have always been a voracious reader, I also watched a lot of television to "wind down" at night. It's amazing how fast a few hours go by when binge watching The Office or Vikings. I started to limit that time and use the reminder for things that I could feel satisfied after completed. Researching some topic of interest, spending more time with my wife and children, studying our ritual, or reaching out to a Brother. I started putting limits on my work as well, closing the laptop and leaving the office, setting away from office messages on my email on days off, responding to texts with I'll call you back tomorrow morning. What began to happen was essentially I found hours more every day I could put to better use.

Sometimes I still wish there were more hours in the day, but by getting rid of some of the superfluous items in our lives and focusing on what is really important, we can all extend our twenty-four inch gauge just a bit. Spend more quality time with the people in our lives that matter and participate in activities that feed our minds and our souls.


Erik M. Geehern is currently Junior Warden of Goshen Masonic Lodge #365 in Goshen, NY under the Grand Lodge of New York. He was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason in October of 2019 and since then has served as Assistant Secretary, Mentor, and Charitable Committee member and chairman. He writes and curates a newsletter for his Lodge quarterly which disseminates education, history, and esoterics. He is also a member of the Grand College of Rites and the Kansas Lodge of Research. He works in restaurant operations & consulting, and when not engaged in his usual vocation, or laboring in the Craft, he loves spending time with his wife and two children.

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