I took a while to consider his offer. While continuing my membership in the craft by paying my dues and still reading various writings of it, I had lost interest in returning to regular meetings and all that comes with it.
At times like this I had returned to this page and read the writings of a stranger.
It's funny to say but reading the many posts, that I had definitely written myself, years later as a different man, I found myself in awe of that person I used to be. My old thoughts were deeper and more profound than they had become after years of scarring and calluses being built around my being. And I don't say this in a bad way.
The passing of time and my own aging had developed a crust over the person who wrote so much. I had become that "Grumpy Past Master" that I never believed I could become. My brother asking me to come back to lodge was the first strike of the chisel on the experiential mantle that had enveloped my spirit.
After much thought I agreed to return. It was easy at first, the world was under the pandemic spell and our meetings were virtual so all I had to do was go up in the attic and log into a zoom meeting with a mostly new cast of brothers. eventually, getting in the twice a month habit returned. When we were finally allowed to get back together in person it was quite refreshing and strange all at once. When last I sat in the chaplain's chair, fresh from my time in the Oriental one next to me, I could recite every opening and closing ritual and many other parts without the aid of my book. Now I needed the book because I had nearly forgotten it all. Bits and pieces remained but as fragmented lyrics of a song I used to know. When the chorus came, I could join in but mumbled my way through the rest of the song. We did degrees, I did some of my favorite parts again, yet for some reason I could not get that feeling I once had after a lodge night. The shell, although cracked, refused to break open.