The Tortoise and the Hare
By Most Illustrious Companion John D. Barnes
Past Most Illustrious Grand Master and Grand Treasurer, Grand Council of New Jersey

Masonic Altar
The Tortoise and the Hare
Photo Credit: wikimedia.org

 

My Companion:

In Aesop’s fable the Tortoise wins the race because the Hare fell asleep, and woke up too late to overtake his rival. Some versions say that he got over-confident, and took a nap; others that he stopped to eat, then went to sleep in the hot sun on a full stomach. The race always ends in the same way: the Hare loses because he falls asleep.

Over the centuries, the moral of the story has also changed. Some say that the Hare decided the race was foolish and stopped, while the Tortoise stayed true to the challenge and won the race. Others say that the moral is not that the Tortoise kept going, but that the over-confident Hare had assumed he would win and stopped trying to win.

We can learn from both creatures. We should not start our journey on the rough and rugged road as if we were in a 100 Yard Dash, spending all our energy quickly. If we try to do too many things, try to be too many things, try to be everywhere and anywhere, we will soon be ready for a nap. We will fall asleep, all burned out, and everything will pass us by. If we become so confident that we can do it all, and push ourselves beyond our limits, we will need to stop and rest. We will be like Ahishar, asleep at his post, letting important things get passed him.

Yet we cannot assume that we have all the time in the world to run our race. If we take everything at a slow, methodical pace, we may find that our time on Earth is over before we reach our goal. Even so wise and honorable a man as Hiram Abif knew this. He knew that “the young may die, the old must die.” He worked diligently, completing a vital project before his death; yet he fell into eternal rest before the Temple was completed.

Take the time to enjoy all that Cryptic Masonry has to offer. You will find Masonic Light and Knowledge within the Secret Vault. And you will find Companionship there too. As you work with your Companions, making your Council stronger, happier, and more alive, the Light you gain will keep you awake on your journey, and light your path to the Supreme Council Above.

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