The last regular communication of the year was held at my mother lodge last week, and I was elected to the office of Junior Warden.
I admit, I will be glad to be more or less done with the Senior Deacon's chair (although I expect that I will get tapped to deliver the Middle Chamber lecture or take the second section of the Third Degree now and again.) I thoroughly enjoyed learning and performing my parts of the ritual, but it will be nice to be out of the spotlight for a while.
I also admit I'm not tremendously thrilled with my impending duties related to the coordination (if not direct preparation) of meals and collations... but I've been in the lodge long enough to know who I can work with to hopefully pull off some good meals.
Just as the office of Senior Deacon serves as a filter for officers who either can't or aren't interested in learning some pretty heavy ritual, I think perhaps the Junior Warden's traditional meal-organizing duties have evolved as a filter for officers who either can't or aren't interested in the kind of organization and leadership required to coordinate such an event; if a Brother can't pull together a bean supper, how well is he going to run the Lodge? I will endeavor to keep that in mind next year.
It's not for nothing that the metaphor of Labor is woven into our rituals and lectures. Freemasonry is work... I think officers generally realize this more than many members, but even among officers it can be easy to lose sight of what hopefully attracted us to knock on the doors of our Lodges in the first place. There's more to it than just memorizing ritual, or planning meals, or running efficient meetings - these skills are all parts of it, but not ends in and of themselves. One of the things that some of the Brothers I most admire seem to have in common is a tremendous respect for, and desire to perpetuate, the most noble ideals of the Craft itself... and that means thinking beyond the sometimes trivial distractions of your own Lodge -- not ignoring them, but not giving them more attention than they deserve, either. I hope to find the balance by the time I reach the East.