Sensing the Long Arc of Love in Our Elder Years

by evoker on March 20, 2017

in Ripening and aging well

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


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