Today in Masonic History we present Freemasonry: A Journey of One.
Freemasonry is a platform of moral teaching and fraternity.
“A Journey of One,” may be causing some who read this to say the concept of a single person on a journey conflicts with the fact that Freemasonry is a fraternity. In my opinion it does not. In my recent masonic travels I have been confronted by this concept in various forms and want to address it, so please bear with me.
Freemasonry has two parts to it. The collective and the individual. First lets talk about the collective. The collective manifests in it’s modes of recognitions and it’s ritual work. We use our modes of recognition to recognize those who are traveling along the same path as ourselves. As we walk along the road of life we encounter other travelers who happen to be heading in the same direction we are. When we identify them as masons we call them brother and continue along with them. Sometimes we ask them for help when we need help from them and other times we offer them help when they need it. The road that we travel on is the platform of Freemasonry which is leading us all to the same destination. Still though it is a our own individual journey and we make of it what we must.
The individual aspect is where we improve ourselves by associating with our fellow travelers. We learn, when we allow ourselves to, from those who walk the same road we do. Again by traveling along the road that Freemasonry has created by it’s system of morality and fraternity.
When people leave the road that Freemasonry has created, in other words, leave the fraternity by demitting or simply not showing up for meetings, it is because the road no longer suits them. Not because of the lessons it teaches, because the road no longer provides them with the value they were expecting from traveling that road. Think of it this way, you come to a fork in a road, one way leads to a traffic jam with no scenery, no opportunity to get out and stretch your legs and angry drivers unwilling to talk or interact in a pleasant way. The other leads to a pleasant drive with spectacular views, places to pull off to enjoy the journey and an opportunity to speak with old friends and new friends as you make your way to your destination.
Unfortunately it is the traffic jam that is often presented to the new member as an experience. It becomes easier then for our members to find an “off ramp” and travel down another road that is more enjoyable for them on their journey. The only way to get them traveling back down the road of Freemasonry is to open up new lanes by developing new programs in our lodges, by finding new ways to help our members be productive in the fraternity and by listening to these new brothers and sometimes letting them take the reigns. It is true that the system of Freemasonry is hundreds of years old, evidence shows even more than 300 years. Just because we are founded in antiquity does not mean that new ideas are forbidden and should be ignored.
This in my opinion is the job of the collective, we need to make sure that the individual journey of each member is enjoyable and gives them value on their journey. When we begin opening those lanes on the road that is Freemasonry we find that more and more people are joining us. They are traveling all around us making our journey better and we in turn our making their journey better.
There are those who may be saying that the job of creating new lanes is the job of their Grand Lodge or other Grand organization. It isn’t! We as individual travelers along the road know what would make the road better for ourselves and our fellow travelers. What might work for one section of road (or lodge) may not work in another section of road. We have to take charge of the travel along our road and make the experience that is best for everyone.
From: Today In Masonic History