Life really is just a series of transitions isn’t it? The other day I was boxing up some of my son’s childhood toys and realized that he is 16 and on the verge of becoming a man. My mind raced back 10 years to that day when I found an old box of trains in my basement that my father packed away when I was 16. They were wrapped in newspapers from 1978 and I thought about how he must have felt putting them away, thinking about the good times we had as father and son, thinking about how our interests diverged over the years but not our love, perhaps thinking about his own mortality. I have turned into to him and have not seemed to notice. Except for the occasional squinted eyes peeking out over the rim of my glasses, there is little resemblance. Yet I have arrived at his age.
It occurred to me that in Masonry one day we are called an Entered Apprentice, then one day we become a Fellowcraft, then one day a Master Mason, yet those are only titles. The question that only we can answer for ourselves is, are we worthy of the title we hold? Have we really learned the lessons and transitioned from one stage to another? The change, like the tiny particles of sand that pass through the hourglass, is almost imperceptible, yet in the space of an hour all are exhausted. Thus wastes man. But does man really “waste”? Do we not grow? Should we not evolve and improve until we get to the state where we have mastered life and are ready to die in the hope of a glorious immortality? Is that not the goal?
In fact, that is the challenge we are charged with in the first degree. Perfect the stone so that we can be one with that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Thus, we circle back to the beginning. Our lives are a continuum of change, of transition from one sublime state to the next. It is up to us to decide in which direction to travel the circle, but we know we must touch those parallel boundary lines and the rule and guide for our faith along the way, and in the center of the continuum resides one single point of light, shining with the eternal reward for our labors on earth.
Fare thee well, brother, for you no longer need a friend to guide you nor a brother to pray for you, this is one journey you must make on your own. May the blessings of heaven attend you.
Worshipful Bro. Ralph