As of this writing on Monday, April 13, 2020, we are still in the midst of our stay-at-home edict issued by our local, state, and federal officials. In addition, and perhaps most painfully, our Grand Master has suspended all Masonic gatherings, albeit for good reason. We ALL are in the same pandemic boat floating around in our own personal seatrying to stay busy, stay safe, virus free, and sane. This is unprecedented obligatory activity for virtually everyone.
While we attempt to survive this homeboundedness (yes, we can even fabricate new words to pass the time ) our lives are fulfilled by creating games with the kids, doing more yard work that we like to, staying home with the spouse more than we are used to, cooking, doing housework (yuk), eating more than we should, and enjoying too many libations out of boredom. Easter has come and gone without the usual celebration of our Lord’s resurrection. Birthdays and anniversaries have come and gone. Graduations will not be as special, and other special life events will have passed us by with no particular notoriety. Many of us have given up shaving or perhaps showering daily during this time with the attitude that, “Who cares, I’m not going anywhere for a while”. This is a small sample of the times right now.
Recently, I did an informal poll among my Brothers as to what they perceived the worst thing was about the stay-at-home situation we are all currently experiencing. Nearly every answer eluded to the fact that we miss our degree meetings, our stated meetings, (who ever thought it would come to that?), our Masonic picnics, and all the myriad events in which we don’t get to participate. In fine, we miss our brethren! Is that a surprise to anyone? I seriously doubt it. One of the greatest things about this fraternity isthe brethren themselves. When we are denied gathering with them, it simply leaves a hole in our lives.
However, Masons being what and who they are, innovative ideas have surfaced to keep us in contact with each other. Personally, I have had many phone calls, emails, and text messages from my brethren, locally and all over the map, some of which whom I haven’t heard from in years, inquiring if all is well, or simply to shoot the breeze. Virtual gatherings and happy hours are popping up all over the internet and virtual education series are being presented, to name a few. In sum, we are finding methods of staying in touch with those that we hold special to us – our brethren! Masons have virtually rallied to formulate plans to help one another as well as assist those throughout our jurisdiction that have fallen on difficult times as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. That’s what Masons do. We are living by our three principle tenets! And we can’t forget the jokes and cartoons that are flying all over giving us all a small humorous respite from the depressing issues of the day. We are finding ways to stay in touch with our brethren!
So, what will Masonry look like then when the pandemic disappears and we are back to normality? Here are my thoughts and hopes for Masonry in the post-pandemic period.
1. Our communication will continue and we will have an even closer bond with our brethren and with more brethren whom we may not have communicated with prior to this time.
2. Our charitable efforts will continue to flourish as we have seen first-hand how desperately our giving is needed not only monetary charity but spiritual charity as well.
3. We will each have the realization that our brotherhood is much more than attending meetings and that we are truly dependent on one other for physical and moral assistance as well as our own well-being.
4. The education presentations will continue to stimulate others to read andacademically participate in all that Masonry has to offer; it will inspire deeper thinking into our mysteries and their meaning. That deeper thinking will cause new presentations that will in turn inspire even more brethren to delve into the esoteric lessons Masonry offers.
5. I see more online innovations coming forward directed toward the membership’s education and awareness as to what is going on in Masonry in our jurisdiction and the world of Freemasonry. Two-way communication will be more readily available to all Masons.
So, again, what will Post Pandemic Masonry or PPM look like? Through all the hardships we are currently enduring, I hope that our innovative minds will continue to blossom, and our beloved fraternity will emerge better that it was with more socially active brethren, more educated brethren, more motivated brethren, more charitable brethren, and overall a much wiser membership. We can do it. WE WILL DO IT!