It's perhaps a reflection on today’s modern society that most weeks of the calender year now have some kind of issue awareness attached them. Let me give you a recent example - Mental Health Awareness Week which was to raise awareness of people who have mental health issues and how they cope from day to day.
For me this was a real eye opener as I had work colleagues sharing their personal experiences of mental health issues. Their personal stories were both courageous and inspiring and certainly raised awareness and dispelled some of the stigma surrounding mental health.
This got me thinking perhaps we should have a Freemasonry Awareness Week - however most lodges now having a social media presence, the odd open evening and, together with our charitable work, those outwith our craft are perhaps more aware of freemasonry now than they have ever been. I then gave some thought to an Almoners’ Awareness Week but the wonderful work your lodge almoner does brings its own awareness.
Also we must consider that Grand Lodge nominated Prostate Scotland as its preferred charity and what that has done for the awareness of prostate cancer amongst our brethren. It almost seems remarkable that we were aware of prostate cancer but because men tend to ignore issues which they don’t wish to discuss - we neglected it, so we can see we’ve come along way.
This poses the question just how aware as freemasons are we. How often when a brother is absent from the lodge for one or two consecutive meetings do we assume that it is for work or family reasons ? On most occasions that will be the likely reason but the one time a brother from his lodge lifts the phone or goes round to his house and asks the simple question, "Are you alright ? Is there anything I can help with ?” - that might be the one occasion when you or your lodge almoner can offer a brother who's perhaps in need of assistance some help.
As a collective we as freemasons perhaps need to be more aware of what is going on around us or look out for the one brother who's been absent from the lodge too often. Just a thought brethren.