A little over a year ago, several Brethren from many different local Lodges met. They had a common purpose in mind — to breathe life into a new Lodge — certainly a worthwhile endeavor, if ever there was one.
The new Lodge was going to be an Observant Lodge. Ritual would be approached with the solemnity and rigor it was due. The Lodge would be mindful that when a Degree was performed for a candidate, it was the only opportunity that that candidate would ever have to experience the Degree for the first time. Education would be an area of focus; research papers and philosophical lectures would be prepared and delivered during Emergent Communications. Festive Boards and Harmonies would be joyous meetings — events to look forward to. The Brethren would wear tuxedos or dark suits and white gloves. Selected musical pieces would help frame ritual, and incense would linger lightly in the air — symbolizing purification.
And so, the Brethren met as a club, and they worked. With the assistance of some established Observant Lodges, they built up a framework for their Regular Communications, their Emergent Communications, and their Harmonies. They constructed a thorough set of bylaws. They formed committees.
In the end, however, that breath of life that they once tried to breathe into their little club wasn’t enough to sustain it. Maybe interest had waned or there weren’t enough who were willing to shoulder the burden. It could be that all weren’t fully committed. Perhaps there were undercurrents of something else, entirely, that held everything back. The Brethren watched as the club gave its final, exasperated gasps for air and died an undignified death.
While the club’s fate is a tragedy, and although that Lodge will always (in my mind) be “The Lodge That Could Have Been“, I’m not writing this piece to voice frustration or feel sorry for anything that happened. This article is about salvage. It’s about turning around, walking back into that temple as it trembles and shakes itself apart wildly, and gathering those precious treasures that you can, before making your escape.
My own Lodge had four Brethren who were involved in trying to stand up that Observant Lodge. Our levels of engagement were all different, but we all saw the value in it. When that club died its unceremonious death, we gathered those things of value, and we brought them back to our Lodge, and I think that our Lodge is better for it.
Life is fraught with moments of success and failure. Every one of those moments, though, is a teachable moment. It is imperative that each of us discovers how to take our failures, learn from them, and turn them into something positive. In that respect, failures aren’t things unto themselves. They aren’t ending points. They are lessons and investments in your future, if you’ll let them be.