Saturday, April 24, 2010

All good things must come to an end...

I woke up this morning and started thinking about upcoming events. Grand Lodge session is next week and I am looking forward to the trip home to Long Island and spending some time with the folks, then the train ride to Manhattan. There will be the traditional breakfast at the Malibu Diner, then Grand Lodge. I will be traveling with a Brother who has never been there, so it will be extra special. There is nothing like experiencing it through the eyes of a "first timer." The best part is when the room breaks out in the "Star Spangled Banner" - the unified voices of the Brothers always hits the heart.

It was then that I started thinking about Installation in June. I have been asked to take the role of Installing Officer by the Brother who has done it for as long as I can remember. I was honored to be asked, but I can't help but think that we are entering a new era. I have begun to make the transition to one of the "Old Timers." This was overshadowed by an even bigger realization - my term as Master is almost over.

Suddenly I was overwhelmed with a mixture of sadness and emptiness. I know...I have been talking about counting the days until the end of my term. It has been a very busy and long two years in the East. We have initiated 11 new Brothers, we have begun using a Chamber of Reflection before the First Degree, we have improved our ritual and we have begun holding weekly classes for new Brothers. We have begun a study circle - the 309 Society - which held its first dinner lecture. There is a new sense of pride and the Lodge is beginning to turn around.

And it's almost over.

I have spent the last several years in a position of leadership. Six were as a District Officer. As I got ready to step down as District Deputy and enjoy a bit of a break, I stepped right back in the East. I had hopes and dreams, plans and aspirations.

And now it's almost over.

I will be entering graduate school in September (God willing) and my class nights will be on Tuesday nights - so no Lodge for me - at least not my home Lodge. I have begun to think about the times spent with my Brothers and how much I will miss it next year. Sure, I'll be in other Lodges, but it isn't mine. It isn't home. For the first time in a long time I won't hold an office - I won't have a purpose - and it feels weird.

So, what have I learned? I have learned a few things which I would like to share:
  1. No matter how many times you have served in the East, each time is different and offers you an opportunity to do something wonderful and lasting. This was time number 6 and I think I enjoyed it more than I did the first time.
  2. Plan, plan and plan. You can never do too much. And when you are done planning, check it and make a plan "B". You are the leader and must be ready to switch plans when things fall through - and they will.
  3. Surround yourself with people who love Masonry. It keeps the momentum going.
  4. Find people who are good at what they do and then - let them do it. One of my new Brothers taught me this. He continuously kept coming up with ideas and, when allowed to work on those projects, never failed to experience a successful venture.
  5. Think outside the box. Tradition is important, but stale programs are not. Don't be afraid to try something new. That tradition was a first-time occurrance once.
  6. Walk the walk. If you set a standard, be the example. Your Brothers will not follow your lead if you won't walk the path yourself.
  7. Have fun. Laugh at yourself. Don't take things so seriously. Enjoy the ride.
  8. Think big picture. Sure a successful dinner is a good thing, but how will it help make the Lodge grow? Use your plans to work toward a larger purpose.
  9. Don't get caught up in yourself. From membership you came and to the membership you will return. I am most always the first one at the Lodge and the last one home. My guests dine before I do. Don't get hung up on the title. You are there to serve, not to be served.
  10. Admit your mistakes. Apologize and take responsibility.

The Brother who is lined up for the East is beginning his preparations for his term. The other night we went over his trestleboard and looked at his officer line up. He had this "deer in the headlights" look which was tempered with a glint of expectation. I remember that look, and the thought of those days past brought a smile to my face.

So here we are, two meetings left to go and then I will lay aside the top hat and hand over the gavel to the next in line. I am full of confidence that the work began will continue and my time will have been well spent.

No comments:

Post a Comment