The Inner Door
By Most Illustrious Companion John D. Barnes
Past Most Illustrious Grand Master and Grand Treasurer, Grand Council of New Jersey
MIC John D. Barnes
Past Most Illustrious Grand Master of New Jersey
“I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean; Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens; Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance; And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance: I hope you dance!” -Lee Ann Womack
As a candidate, you entered the Lodge or Council through the Inner Door. Later, as a Brother or a Companion, you were permitted to enter through the Outer Door. If you think about that, why would someone who was not yet a full member of a group be allowed to enter by an Inner Door? And why should a member, especially an honored long-term member, have to come in through an Outer Door? Surely, those who knew the secret knocks, grips and words would be of some mystical inner circle, separate from those of the profane world, and entitled to all the rights and privileges of the Order. Yet, we do the opposite.
The difference lies within us, and outside those doors. Outside the Inner Door is the Preparation Room. There you, the candidate, were prepared for what was about to happen. The ritual attire and accoutrements of the Degree were explained to you by the appropriate Officers of the Council. Being only a candidate, you could not prepare yourself properly. You were lead through the door by an experienced friend, who already knew what lay ahead and would not mislead you. Your Masonic dance had begun.
As a Brother or Companion, we prepare ourselves outside of the meeting room. We don our aprons and leave our prejudices at the Tyler’s Desk. We ease our minds and gladden our hearts, knowing the happiness that lies within the Outer Door. We know what to expect when we walk through that door. If the meeting has not started, we already know how to prove we belong there. If it has started, we know where to go and what to do. Even if we are visiting a Council for the first time, we know we will find friends waiting for us. Coming to an Assembly, sitting on the sidelines, taking an Officer’s Chair, or helping to confer a Degree are all different steps in the Masonic dance.
One door has been shut, and another has opened. Dance every chance you get!