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From the West

By Andrew Hawes — Sr. Warden

November is an important month for our lodge, and for me, as the Senior Warden and thus "incumbent" candidate for Master of the Lodge for next year. The lodge budget needs to be prepared for submission and review by the brethren. Elections are held for the key lodge officers, who have to be prepared and willing to accept their upcoming roles. If elected as Master, I need to present a slate of appointed officers to fill out the chairs. This means finding brothers to do those jobs who are willing and able to commit to as close to 100% attendance as possible, not only to our monthly Stated Meetings, but to the many practices, officers meetings, committee meetings, special occasions, and degree conferrals that will be taking place throughout the year. A calendar has to be prepared, which means juggling many personal commitments throughout the year, determining which special events we are going to plan, when they will take place, whether they involve food (...but let's face it, when do our special events for Crow Canyon NOT involve food?) and who will prepare for it... on and on the list goes.

To me, the Master of the lodge is in an unusual position, since they at once embody an elected official and hold the responsibility to comply with the wishes of their "constituents" in the lodge- while also holding the executive authority to ultimately decide most things for their lodge. I believe that the successful Master is one who is able to make those frequent executive decisions without delay, while keeping them in line with the best interests of the lodge, and the desires of as many of the brethren as possible. A bit of a tightrope to walk, but one which is well protected by the guardrails of our Masonic code, and securely footed in centuries of our traditions, strong enough to support even the clumsiest and least surefooted of Masters as they tread cautiously over the path that so many have tread before.

As Junior Warden, I represented the pillar of Beauty, but (thank goodness!) beauty is more than skin deep. I think a good synonym for beauty that can be applied to Masonic undertakings is Grace. Grace under pressure. The willingness to take on the organization of social events and their adornments. The grace needed to remain calm and execute them according to plan. Serenity, Grace and Beauty are all elements we need in a lodge.

As Senior Warden, I represent the pillar of Strength, not physical strength, but: strength of will and commitment to the principals of the lodge; the strength to carry out the Master's plans and support him in his role; the strength of character to hold to my ideals, commit to Masonry, and fulfil my obligations in a public way, setting the example for our brethren.

Wisdom is the pillar that supports the Worshipful Master, and which in turn is represented by him. Wisdom is something we all seek, but which is sometimes hard to find, and even harder to wield- even when we think we know how.

As Master, I will need to rely on others to provide Beauty and Strength as my Wardens, but need to retain a measure of them myself. I will need to try to embody the Wisdom of the lodge, to ensure that the decisions I am called upon to make are the best ones that I can, and serve all of our interests as far as possible. This is no small undertaking, but I plan to try my best if I am elected to serve.

As I may in fact be entering upon a great AND important undertaking soon, I will close this month's article with a prayer. It is one that I find to be useful frequently in life, that I have slightly modified for these Masonic purposes:

"God grant me the Grace to accept the things I cannot change,

The Strength to change the things I can,

And the Wisdom to know the difference."

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