I know I've been away for another stretch but I promise that I'll be back to form throwing new ideas and events for the Craft to digest. The main reason why I have been out is that my wife and I have been blessed by the birth of our son, Xavier. This has led me to ask an important question, how does Masonry fit in my life now?
In an office setting, there is a common theme of Work - Life Balance. The idea is that the employee expects that life and work may interfere with each other but that in the end, both your work and your life will eventually balance out and the employee will be happy the balance.
I have attempted to balance my work and my life with my son and I am starting to feel a happy balance between them. Of course, work and life with my family is important but I am also a member of this great Fraternity. That brings me to my concern which I believe I share with many of my readers, how does Masonry fit?
After my son was born, I didn't know when I would be able to come back to Lodge and frankly, I didn't really care. This little boy, this perfect child, was my only concern. I was home for a few weeks on leave and I couldn't think of a day away from him. Of course, that didn't last for more than a week.
You see, we all need breaks. As I rounded week one and was running on just a few hours of sleep each day, I needed a place to go. As if the Great Architect knew I needed this break from daily family life, a second degree was coming up at my mother lodge and thankfully, I'm the only one who knows the long lecture in my Lodge. So I went and it was perfect. The Tyler's door was closed and the world outside was closed to the inside. I was able to see old friends and shake hands with the new Fellow Crafts. I was able to teach the lessons of Masonry in the degree that exudes Masonic education more than any other degree. I was working. When I got home, I chatted with my son, and continued to read to him before he went to sleep for the night (by night, I mean two hours.)
Now that I am back to work, I am again having to learn how to balance every aspect of my life. When it was baby and Masonry, there were two choices. Now I have work to throw me off balance. But I'm learning. Each of these parts should not serve as a distraction for the others. Each is a part of me and should be equally important to me.
Masonic life can be hectic. In my own Grand Lodge, a brother could go to a different lodge every day of the week (except Sunday) within a 25 mile radius. Add to that the Rites, Star, and Shrine, and his schedule could be locked up for months. Many Masons fall into this trap. They become enraptured with the ritual or the new found social group and soon, other aspects of his life start to be ignore. Our ritual teaches not to but we, as rough ashlars, can't help it.
Every meeting for me now involves a weighing of my duties. I check with my wife on if she needs me more. I check with what I have left to do at work. At the end of the day, that's all I can do. The lodge will always be there, and they will always need me to help but sometimes, my family will need me more. So that is where I'm at. But again, I'm learning and I think the lessons of Masonry are helping me to find this balance and teaching me how to best divide my time.