From the East
Worshipful Jesse Middleton
My Brothers, As the sun sets on my year as Master of the Lodge, I humbly reflect at the great year you all have made. Looking back to the beginning of the year, many were not sure if we would even open. It was not a guarantee that we would be able to return to labor within our Lodge, but through patience and perseverance we were able to open with some restrictions. In due time, those restrictions were lifted, and our labors resumed in full. Brothers that we had not seen in some time came back to the Lodge, work parties were formed to clean-up the outside, a table lodge may have been the focal point of the year, there were some charity events, and the many degrees and ceremonies we could put on for our brothers filled the year with plenty to be proud of.
I feel fulfilled in how I have been able to serve the Lodge. It was by no means perfect, but it was a very meaningful experience that I will cherish for as long as I can remember. Thanks to all of you, I have been able to learn a lot more about leadership and myself. I hope that I have been able to guide a couple of you through the year and help you to get a better understanding of how you would like to lead the Lodge someday. For others, I hope you have picked something up from me that you will be able to put into practice in your life that will make it easier. One of the opportunities Freemasonry presents is the open expression of ideas and the plethora of experience. Take the experiences that work for you and use those to work on your Perfect Ashlar.
As I look ahead, I see that I have much more work to do with my 24-inch gauge. I am quickly realizing that my two boys will only be this way for a short period of time. Quickly they are growing and changing, becoming their own person. Freemasonry, however, will always be here. It has survived since time immemorial; it has at times recessed but only to come back again stronger and more resilient to man’s ever-changing whims. Certain things however do not remain for eternity but quickly change and grow. Before I took my obligation, I took another, and that was when my oldest was born. I took an obligation to raise him to be the best he could possibly be, and surely to out do me. I owe both of my boys a bit more of my time now, teaching them and passing on to them the lessons that I have learned so that they may grow up to be better men.
I hear many speak of the “Good Ol’ Days.” They speak with nostalgia of a better time. But does anyone ever tell you when you’re in the “Good Ol’’ Days?” Those days are a perspective, compared to a time when things don’t seem perfect, or may need a little more preparation and work than they used to. I’m here to tell you, that it’s time to live in the moment. Time is more valuable than any other currency. You will never get it back and you never know just how much you have. For each second you spend, it is your duty to ensure you are getting a return on investment. I’m also here to tell you that right now, you are in the “Good Ol’ Days.” Get up right now and go do something meaningful. You took an obligation to work on becoming a better man. Take some time for some introspection and ask yourself if you have really done that, or if you’re just going through the motions.
The holidays are here, read up on many of them and you will see that this time of year has always been celebrated as a time when everyone looked forward to a rebirth. They were run weary of the dark and dreariness of winter and looked forward to the greenery and sunshine of spring. They knew it was coming, and they were excited for it. Be excited for the changes coming next year, be excited for the new master who will provide new experiences, and most of all be excited that you have another opportunity to work on yourself and continue to grow as a better man.
From the West
Bro. Jeff Powell
With With this article being the final article from the West this year, it seems fitting to spend a moment to reflect back and review the year, from my perspective. As you all remember, at the beginning of the year we were still not able to hold in-person meetings. However, the Consuelo spirit, and the hard work of Brothers Doug Ford and Jon Rick, was to rise to the challenge and put together a very fine virtual Installation. I recall meeting at the lodge with other officers to record segments to be used for the installation, and even though we were socially distanced, it was a relief to finally get to do something with some of the brothers in the lodge.
After five more months of virtual Stated Meetings it finally happened, sometime in June, the lodge began to meet again. How appropriate it was, that our first official Consuelo in person meeting was a table lodge, where a good time was had by everyone in attendance.
During the pandemic, our lodge suspended many activities. One of the first events to return was the weekly Wednesday Morning Coffee and Donuts. A special thanks to Vance Johnson for the efforts put in to have this event take place. We also have recently brought back the every other Saturday Coffee and Donuts, be sure to check your calendar so you don’t show up on the ‘off’ Saturday.
There are also a couple of new events this year that we have never done before. Brother Jon Rick started up the monthly ‘Consuelo at Refreshment’ where brothers will meet at a local establishment and partake in good food and beverages. I keep waiting for one to be scheduled on a day where I am not already attending a youth meeting, so I can participate in the fun. Also, Worshipful Jesse Middleton started the Fireside Chat on the 2nd & 4th Fridays where deep Masonic discussions and education can occur. I am hoping these will continue into the future.
One thing that we haven’t yet brought back is our successful Child ID program. The last time the program was active was 2 years ago when I was Sr. Warden and 1772 ID’s were given to the parents of children in our community that year. I’m not sure if this program will continue any time soon, but one thing I’d like to do is work with the Child ID committee to see if it’s possible to overcome some of the challenges, and ‘safely’ provide the Child ID’s again.
Even without the Child ID program, we still have other ways to reach out and assist the community. One such opportunity was volunteering to serve Thanksgiving Dinner for the homeless in Escondido. This was possible through a collaborated effort with Interfaith Community Services, and will lead to Consuelo Volunteering for more events in the future. This is a great way to show the community what Masonry is really about. A special thanks to the Byers, for setting up the initial contact, and also to all the volunteers who generously donated their time to serve.
Another great thing about this year is that we came off the shutdown and immediately did a third degree for Brother Madril. Since then, we performed two double second degrees, a past Masters second degree, and a first degree, and another second degree. On the schedule, we have another 1st degree and a 3rd degree before the end of the year, which will make ten high quality degrees performed in half a year. This seems remarkable to me.
Thank you Worshipful Middleton for leading our lodge out of the shutdown and into what ended up being a fantastic year!. I hope to continue with the progress and momentum into next year. I thank the lodge for the opportunity to serve as Master for the ensuing Masonic Term. Our lodge is blessed to have a very experienced officer team, with most of the officers either holding the same office or advanced by one chair. It is my goal to leverage the experience of these officers, our past masters, lodge traditions, the CMC, and the Great Architect of the Universe, to overcome any challenges we may face and have the best year possible in 2022!
From the South
Bro. Jon Gary Rick
My Brothers, the holidays are here! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of family and friends. As we move into the final month of the year, I know our calendars are packed full of events; I believe during these times that it is important for us to reflect on that very first working tool presented to us, the 24-inch gauge.
I can personally share that as of late I find myself burning the proverbial candle stick at both ends. Realizing that you’ve overcommitted and aren’t going to be able to perform to the standard in which you’ve set for yourself can be an uncomfortable reality to face. Even now, I find myself hastily writing this article in an attempt to make it in before the deadline.
I share this information with you all not in desire of sympathy but in hopes of sharing my honest perspective. If you find yourself in a similar situation, know that you’re not alone and as difficult as it may be, it’s important to share with those around you that you’ve stretched yourself too thin. Often, I think we hold on to the stress of trying to accomplish it all on our own when the better course of action should be reaching out for assistance from your family, friends, and masonic brothers. I know I’m going to make every attempt to heed my own words moving forward.
With that, I hope to see many of you at our coming Awards Night – if it fits within your 24-inch gauge of course! More importantly though, I wish you and your family a very happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year.