Another Year, Another Leg

Discussion in 'Your Masonic Story' started by BroBill, Jan 21, 2018.

  1. BroBill

    BroBill Site Benefactor Site Benefactor

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    I put my green tie away today. Officially retired it. For a year I’ve dressed in the Grand Master’s uniform – dark suit, one pin (the Grand Master’s pin), pocket badge, DDGM apron, and Grand Master’s green tie. I spent my 2017 as the District Deputy Grand Master for my Masonic District of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas. Yet another major leg of my journey, and certainly more light in all things “Grand Lodge”.

    My brethren, approximately 18 months ago, I took keyboard in hand and wrote about my rather lengthy and non-linear journey to the East. What I knew at that time, but was not permitted to discuss, was that the next leg of my journey had already been decided. I served in the East in my lodge from 2015 – 2016 and just prior to our lodge elections I accepted my appointment as DDGM for my district for the following Masonic Year. The promised confidentiality was quite a challenge because I knew our next Master was going to expect my full focus to be on our lodge and brethren and I was – at the time I accepted the appointment – unable to tell him what was coming.

    So there I was, again at the beginning of another path on my journey, and one that I could not readily share at all (initially), and, when I had to, only on a limited basis until after the 2017 year began. During the six months between the installation of my replacement in the East and my installation as District Deputy, I went about my duties as expected by the WM and my brethren, but I did have to inform the WM and two or three other brothers that I would be unavailable for certain duties after the Grand Lodge Communication beginning in January 2017 and they accepted that as I presented it.

    The drive to Waco last January gave me three hours to think about the coming year. I had attended a preliminary DDGM training event, and I had previously served as District Deputy Grand High Priest for the Grand Chapter, so I was familiar with the duties. The big difference for me was that in Chapter, we have six Chapters in our District and I knew most of their companions from conferences, festivals, and joint degree work; in my new DDGM position, we have eight lodges, but I really only knew brothers from about four of them - I had a learning curve ahead. Overall, I was fairly confident and looking forward to the coming year.

    The largest, looming thought weighing on my mind was “what happens at the other end”? My chief concern – knowing the demanding schedule ahead – was whether I would so burn out on my masonic duties that I might grow to resent the fraternity and the imposition on my life. Until this point in my journey, I was generally in control of my commitments and choices; but the nature of this commitment was that of control over my time. It was this thought I played over and over in my mind as I drove to Grand Lodge in January 2017. It was also the source of my prayer that my desire to serve the Grand Master and the brethren of Texas would not be the ultimate end of my passion for the craft. Perhaps I occasionally over-think a subject, but then again, I always tend to default into over-thinking instead of under-thinking.

    I went mostly dark online here and in other masonic forums because of the potential for problems for everyone involved. First, I promised my year to the service of the Grand Master and to represent him respectfully. I was concerned that any opinion I expressed would be construed as the Grand Master’s opinion or thoughts. Second, every masonic district under the Grand Lodge of Texas has a District Deputy and the last thing I wanted to do would be to undercut the position of those DDGM’s by publishing my views on practices, laws, and policies. Every DDGM deserved (and deserves) the freedom to exercise the authority of his office without a DDGM from another district providing potentially conflicting opinions on matters that are often discussed online, but should properly be handled through appropriate channels. Lastly, as a DDGM, I was prohibited from interpreting the Law Book (we have committees that do that) and I did not want to present any image that could be construed as violating that mandate. Looking back, I am happy with my decision and hindsight tells me it was the correct one.

    The year has now come and gone. A sentence to describe it would have to contain the words “joy, hilarity, sorrow, rollercoaster, whiplash, anxiety, blur, busy, tired, exhausted, energized, concerned, frustrated, happy, ‘sleep deprived’, solemn, instructive, panic, and satisfaction”. Of course, that sentence would be a long, run-on sentence, but it was a long, run-on year after all.

    My year is up. My first Cornerstones, first time serving as Installing Marshal, laboring next to the Grand Master, special degrees (under dispensation) for a distressed worthy brother, almost 30 Masonic Service Awards (five of which were 75-Year awards!), 16 Official Visits, Form 27’s, frequent public speaking, social events, and more than I ever wanted to know about the Law Book are all behind me. I am tired, but I am satisfied I have fulfilled my obligation to the absolute best of my ability. I have to admit, I was ready to pass the reigns to my successor, but I am happy to find that my duties this year have not so overwhelmed my time and so saturated my thoughts that I have come to resent the intrusion of the fraternity into my life and time. Rather, I am pleased, and I am reassured of my commitment to the craft and I look forward to the next leg of my journey which will be as District Education Officer. A glutton, I am.

    Yes, I put my green tie away today. I retired my name badge and added my lapel pin to my keepsake box of past Grand Masters’ pins. I have a few minutes, or hours, or days to think about it, reflect on it, and enjoy it, but then it’s a new striped tie, new Grand Master’s pin, new pocket badge and back to the quarries and back to labor. Continue your travel my brethren, follow your masonic aspirations and fear not your passion and commitment, good and worthy brethren will be there to help you along your way!

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    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018
    LK600, JJones, Bloke and 4 others like this.
  2. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Congratulations Brother and thank you for stepping up. A job well done!
     
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  3. Ripcord22A

    Ripcord22A Site Benefactor

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    Very well written! Well done and good luck!


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  4. SteveH

    SteveH Registered User

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    I believe you are entitled to a break, brother .
     
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  5. Daniele

    Daniele Registered User

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    Thank you my brother, all of this makes you honor, you have done your duty and contributed to the improvement of your institution and your Being.

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  6. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    Congratulations my brother!
     
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  7. Benjamin Baxter

    Benjamin Baxter Moderator Staff Member

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    Well said BroBill. Thanks for putting this out there. We appreciate your thoughts and insights on your experience. Just in my opinion and from what I have seen in my short time, this is experience can go both ways and happy to know yours went the pleasant way.


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  8. BroBill

    BroBill Site Benefactor Site Benefactor

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    Thank you all for your kind and fraternal replies! Today I head out with this year's DDGM as part of his District Service Team an essentially start the process over again! This will be a valuable year in that I'm working on an Education Manual that lodges can use to build and run education plans, and I'm also serving a my own lodge's Lodge Education Officer. It's probably a good think I enjoy planning and education.... just guessing... Thank you again brethren!
     
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