In a class on self-expression for “The Afternoon of Life” held at the Jung Center in Houston, I was asked to write quickly before I did any censoring, on what I know.

Here is what came out of me.

What do you know?  Remember, write fast.

What I know, and want to pass on
John P. Schuster

I know love rules
Grace matters
Pain subsides
Anxiety teaches
Anger cleanses
Hugs heal
Laughter lightens
Smiles welcome
Hands express
Eyes reveal
Foreheads hold
Wrinkles tell
Aches educate
Tongues taste
Postures position
Feet trek
Muscles power
Minds wonder
And hearts beat on & on

“Pen & Writing” by Karen is licensed under CC BY 2.0


On TV last night in Houston, St. Patrick’s Day — yes, I still watch local news and weather sometimes — was a most touching story of a school janitor lady giving some of the little money she had to repair a vandalized school bus, one that transports the kids she loves at the school she has worked at for 20 years. It got me to thinking. We all know the above famous Martin Luther King proclamation, a good one to remember in dark times— the arc of the moral universe is long and it bends toward justice. The moral universe, according to others, and me in the blog post, bends toward one other thing as well. It bends toward love.

Human darkness expresses itself in so many forms: sexual slavery, terrorism and cruel legislation even, to name a few. But love pops up and seeps in all around too, like in this little story in Houston that aired for 75 seconds and moved its viewers.

I am in fortunate life circumstances right now and I can appreciate the love arc in these later years of my life. While still active in work, here in my 69th year, the inner adventure of my life has taken over. It is from this vantage point that I see the long arc that has been carrying me along all these decades. It carries us all along if we can cooperate with it and move toward our essence. And if we do not move this way and instead stay stuck on the surface of ourselves in a life of distractions, busyness and media consumption, the elder years can be a hell-to-pay story of decline and loss. I sensed this janitor lady was acting out of her essence, which is why the little story was moving.

Writer Mary Sarton said it well in a Times op ed in 1978, sensing an arc like Martin Luther King did:

If the whole of life is a journey toward old age, then I believe it is also a journey toward love.  And love may be as intense in old age as it was in youth, only it is different, set in a wider arc, and the more precious because the time we have to enjoy it is bound to be brief.

Let’s take every chance we can to bend our lives toward love and justice.

Illustration created using work of Flickr Joseph Dsilva under CC License; and Flickr Babak Fakhamzadeh under CC License



A New Year for Our Neglected Democratic Infrastructure

December 20, 2016

We are gearing up it appears, if legislative forecasting for 2017 can be believed, for a big spend on the long-neglected infrastructure of highways and sewers and bridges. It took us decades to get to this mandate and let’s hope we intelligently add to our public assets. Democracy itself has a less visible infrastructure, but […]

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Ripen against the Grain

October 13, 2016

I did an un-American thing last month. I went on a 33-day trip to Wales, England and, mainly, Ireland. I walked the hills and listened to music and drifted and did nothing to add to the U.S. GDP. It was enriching. I slowed down to a crawl, and had no goals except to enjoy the […]

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Wisdom from a Master

July 27, 2016

Peter Block’s insights into our work and lives is so precious in this interview of a few months ago at the Hudson Institute’s annual meeting.

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