By Most Illustrious Companion John D. Barnes
Past Most Illustrious Grand Master and Grand Treasurer, Grand Council of New Jersey
Sand Walk In (Public Domain)
'Lives of great men all remind us; We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us; Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another; Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother; Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing; With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing; Learn to labor and to wait.'
-H. W. Longfellow
You may never be a King Solomon, or even an Adoniram, but you should never be an Ahishar.
If you think that you have nothing to contribute to your Chapter, your Council, or your Commandery because you don't have Masonic Light within you - you're wrong. If you think that just sitting on the sidelines while others open and close the meeting and confer the Degrees and Orders is a waste of time - you're wrong. If you think that the Officers and past leaders don't want you there - you're wrong.
First of all, it was the desire for more Light that brought you to the door of York Rite, just as it caused you to seek membership in your Lodge. The way to gain Masonic Light and Knowledge is not just sitting alone reading about the symbols. It also includes coming out to hear what others have learned. They may not be the "World's Leading Authority", but they've tried to improve themselves in Masonry, and are now trying to help you too.
Attending meetings and listening to the ritual is also a way to gain Light. The lessons inculcated in the various Degrees and their related lectures are the beginning of your learning process. What you hear and see may strike a chord within you, leading you to continue your journey towards the Light. There is much to be learned and shared within the four walls of a meeting room.
Your Companions and Sir Knights do want you there. Not just so they can show off what they have learned to recite by rote, but to share what they have learned to live by. Your very presence is an encouragement to them to continue to learn and participate in the growth of the Council.
Don't just sit at home watching TV or, worse yet, asleep on the couch. Come out and leave your Mark on the Craft. Leave your footprints on the sands of time, if only to encourage others to leave their own Mark as they join you on the journey towards Light and Knowledge.