06 March 2013

26. Tuesdays with Morrie

I once was asked through http://ask.fm/mhygsz a few months ago if there’s one book I think everyone should be required to read... I thought so hard... I've read a good number of really influential books but I couldn't think of one thing in particular which could seriously affect significant change to its readers. Now that I've read Tuesdays with Morrie, I finally know why I hadn't answered that question, not that I don’t want to, I just didn't have the answer yet until now. So here I am, answering that question... 
If there’s one book I would love everyone to read, it would definitely be Tuesdays with Morrie. It is a very powerful and important book. It is a work of love. It is about Mitch Albom and his dear old professor’s final project, Morrie Schwartz’s death.

Morrie is a very intelligent man. He is very wise. His glass is always half-full. He knows the right words to say and when to say it, a man of very good words, and a man of aphorisms. Mitch is his favorite player, his favorite student and Morrie... well, Morrie’s everybody’s favorite professor, and he is Mitch’s coach, his favorite coach.

On a hot humid day in August 1994, Morrie and his wife Charlotte found out Morrie has ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) which is a brutal, unforgiving illness of the neurological system. It never occurred to Morrie to just surrender to the disease. Instead, he was intent on proving that the word dying isn't synonymous with useless. In fact, he still attended a semester in the university.

He would not wither. He would not be ashamed of dying. Instead, he would make death his final project, the center point of his days.”

One thing I like about this book is, it’s really very educational. It teaches you about love, life and death. He’s just not teaching every reader to love life but to love death as well. Everybody knows death is inevitable yet nobody believes it. On their fourth Tuesday, they talked about death and this is what the old intelligent man has to say, “Learn how to die, and you learn how to live.” On their sixth Tuesday, they talked about emotions. Morrie is very brave. He dealt with ALS very well. He even said, 

I’m not afraid of being lonely, but now I’m going to put that loneliness aside and know that there are other emotions in the world and I’m going to experience them as well.”

In my heart of hearts, I know Morrie has touched me. If given the chance, I would very much love to talk to him. He is full of wisdom. He is very much willing to share what he's learning about life and the essentials of living. He wants to share his story. Morrie is also a great listener, he believes in being fully present. When he talks to you, he thinks of only you. Never have I stumbled into a man whose intention’s so pure, whose number one preference is to impart knowledge to his students as Morrie Schwartz. He is the ideal professor. The whole world needs lots of professors like him.

Please take time to sit down and read about Morrie. He won't disappoint you. I'm pretty sure  he'll make you get a pen and a paper and you'll just scribble and scribble and scribble. There's just so much aphorism you'd hate to forget.

Some of Morrie's aphorisms:

  • The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love and to let it come in.
  • Sometimes you cannot believe what you see, you have to believe what you feel. And if you are going to have other people to trust you, you must feel that you can trust them, too - even when you're in the dark. Even when you're falling.
  • Detachment doesn't mean you don't let the experience penetrate you. On the contrary, you let it penetrate you fully. That's how you are able to leave it.
  • I delight in being a child when it's appropriate to be a child. I delight to being a wise old man when it's appropriate to be a wise old man.
  • You can't substitute material things for love or for gentleness or for tenderness or for a sense of comradeship.
  • Devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.
  • Status will get you nowhere. Only an open heart will allow you to float equally between everyone.
  • Do the kinds of things that come from the heart.
  • Don't let go too soon, but don't hang up too long.
  • Sometimes, when you're losing someone, you hang on to whatever tradition you can.
  • Accept what you are able to do and what you are not able to do. Accept the past as past, without denying it or discarding it.
  • Learn to forgive yourself and to forgive others.
  • Life is a series of pulls back and forth. You want to do one thing, but you are bound to do something else. Something hurts you, yet you know it shouldn't. You take certain things for granted, even when you know you should never take anything for granted.
  • A tension of opposites, like a pull on a rubber band. And most of us live somewhere in the middle.

and of course, my favorite Morrie aphorism...
"You are not a wave, you're part of the ocean."

 PS: Don't forget to have a hanky with you. A tear will roll down on your cheeks as you flip another page. Now sit down, grab the book and spend some QT with Morrie. It's so worth it. 

M x

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