I just did it again. I took my contacts out without verifying my glasses were in the immediate vicinity. I’m blind without my glasses. The irony of looking for your means of sight while utterly blind makes you kick yourself in the rear every time you’re fumbling around your nightstand for your thick-lensed spectacles. My eyes are so terrible that my contacts and my glasses essentially ensure my survival. If my eyes were this bad in an era where awareness of surroundings made sure you lived another day, I wouldn’t be long for that cruel world.
When I transfer from one mode of sight, my contacts, to the second mode, my glasses, the assumption of a smooth and prosperous transition sometimes falls through. Our fraternity is transitioning from one mode of survival to another as well, and for the sake of all Freemasons, we hope the transition doesn’t leave us blindly staring at the furniture wondering what happened. As the baby boomer generation of Freemasons that brought so much prosperity to the ranks of this fraternity inevitably passes from this world, we look to the younger generation as the next mode of survival.
As a habitual contact wearer, I’ve grown dependent on them for sight, which means when I don my glasses, it takes me a while to get used to them. Freemasonry, as an institution, has grown comfortable relying on the boomer generation to carry most of the load – our average age as a fraternity can attest to that. But the need for the younger generation to step in and be the next mode of survival is both growing and inevitable. While I’m still wearing my contacts, I need to make sure my glasses are ready before I make the transfer from one to the other. Our fraternity needs to make the same assurances.
The outgoing generation needs to make sure the best it can that the next generation is not only present, but also ready to lead the fraternity into the future. The next generation, likewise, needs to work as hard as it can to be in the room and ready to be donned as the lifeblood of Freemasonry.
The knowledge and teachings of Freemasonry are blind. They require brethren, as a person requires sight, for direction, guidance and survival. The transition from one generation of Brother to the next generation of Brother is already upon us. As old or young Masons, we can’t make the assumption that our fraternity will always be here, we all need to make sure we don’t leave our beloved fraternity blind without a means of survival.
Bro. Hughes is the current Worshipful Master of Armstrong Lodge #239 in Freeport, PA. He is King of Orient Holy Royal Arch Chapter #247, a member of Kittanning Council #52 and a member of Holyrood Commandery #100, all in Kittanning, PA. He is also a member of the Pennsylvania Lodge of Research and the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania’s Academy of Masonic Knowledge where he is a Level 1 Master Masonic Scholar. Bro. R. J. can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org