The room was unusually quiet for a stated meeting, and the candles threw enough light to illuminate the area immediately surrounding the altar, but not much else. He knew something wasn’t right as he ascended the stairs in the East to begin the meeting. He rapped the gavel as if to command even more silence from the already still room.
“Brother Pursuivant, close the outer door.” Nothing. Not a creaking chair, not the rustling of tuxedo fabric. Nothing. He strained his eyes in an effort to cut into the darkness. No one was there.
Wait. Where is everybody?
Do I have the meeting night wrong? No, today is the second Tuesday. Well, where is everybody, then?
I can’t remember a time that our little Lodge had even five empty seats, and now there’s no one. What on earth could have happened?
Well, I know a few of them got angry that we spent a little bit of our Reserve fund fixing up the Lodge. What did they expect? The building is 75 years old and has never had a single renovation. I swear that they would have complained about getting rid of gas lights in favor of electric had they been around for that debate. Aren’t we supposed to be about more than that?
What about Brother Bob and all the guys that work down at the factory? They should be here, too. Ah, I remember now. One left after the merger because he didn’t like the name and number we chose, and instead of leaving quietly, he took a bunch with him. I always thought our good works should have mattered more than the name we gave the Lodge.
Let’s see. Who else? There were some who left because we gave too much of our money away to charity, and some who left because we gave too little. I’ll never figure that out. Oh, I can’t forget about the two young men, still in college, who left after an older member scolded them in open Lodge because they were wearing wrinkled suits. Who can blame them for not coming back?
The five dollar dues increase took a few out with it. Imagine that. Someone didn’t see the value in paying five more dollars per year to belong to Lodge. Maybe we never showed them the value of what they had. Maybe our dinners could have been more than subs and chips, and we probably should have let the ladies come as guests of the Lodge.
We have so much money in the bank. We could have given our Brothers something special. We could have made Lodge a place they wanted to be. We could have helped the community, our youth groups, each other with all that we have. Instead, we hoarded it like misers, squeezing every nickel until Jefferson cried – and for what?
I’m the Last Mason.
I have a beautiful building, fine regalia, and all the money I’ll ever need, yet I’ve never felt so poor. Without people, the Lodge is just a building. Without the mystic ties of Freemasonry, we are just a random gathering of men – no different than a crowd at a bus stop. Why, then, did we let the petty eclipse the significant? Why did the trivial trump the vital? Why? Why? Why?
He woke gasping for air. He turned on the light, picked his phone up off of the nightstand and pressed the home key. Tuesday the 10th, 3:57am. The meeting was still more than 15 hours away.
“That was quite a nightmare,” his wife said. “Are you okay?”
He told her about the dream in as much detail as he could. When he finished, he just shook his head. “It was awful. I’ve seen most of those problems to a small degree in our Lodge, but I never pictured any of them leading to the end of Masonry. I’d feel empty if I played a part in something that terrible.”
“You need to tell them tonight,” she said.
“About the dream? I don’t know. What good would it do?”
“Just tell them. You only need to change a couple of hearts to make a difference.”
“Maybe you’re right,” he said. He kissed her softly on the cheek, rolled over and switched off the light. “You always are.”
“I know. Now go to sleep.”