‘Tuesdays with Morrie’
Lessons on life, death and how to live with it.
Walking into the cafe from the bookshop next door, I ordered coffee, sat down and became immersed in 'Tuesdays with Morrie'. Looking up from time to time to see if the rain had stopped outside, but with no intention to leave these pages.
I would make some notes then return to the book for a few pages more. On the front cover it read’s International Best Seller.
Starting to read it I quickly learnt why.
Getting half way down page 27 my eyes filled with tears for it is about someone who you have no doubt lived, and wanted to tell you how he saw life and death as it was coming toward him.
Morrie said: "...I want to tell you about my life, I want to tell you before I can't tell you anymore…..I want someone to hear my story, will you?”
You can feel it in his words. The story of his last months, captured by his college student of twenty years ago with great heart, authenticity and understanding.
The blurb on the back reads:
“Maybe it was a grandparent, a teacher or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and impassioned, helped you to see the world as a more profound place, and gave you sound advice to guide your way through it.”
The book is written as a series of intimate lessons, of one to one discussions. He said to his student: “ask me anything....”
Their first class was on regret, for things not done and of wishing others one had never done. So it is to be human.
They engaged in intimate conversation though to the end of his life, on: Death, Fear, Aging, Greed, Marriage, Family, Society, Forgiveness, and A Meaningful Life.
Morrie taught through experience, he shared his own views the meaning of life, without holding back, and how to live it. Of capturing the story and lessons in ones own life he said with such knowing.
“....we're involved in trillions of little acts just to keep going. So we don't get into the habit of standing back and looking at our lives and saying, Is this all I want? Is something missing?"
Life overtakes us so powerfully and convincingly. We each need someone to prompt us, to look at what is important. Without someone to push, in truth it will likely not happen, we all need someone to give us a prompt, a shove.
As the writer Steven Covey has pointed out many times, we give little heed or time to doing the things that are important but not urgent.
"..standing on the tracks, listening to deaths locomotive whistle, and he was very clear about the important things in life”…Morrie was his own prompter:
He used his own death to give that shove to his student.
It reminded me of something my own teacher often said “…..you’re hanging on by your fingertips to the last carriage of the last train, hurry up…..”
Time stops for no one.
Of living observed Morrie to his student:
"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."
Of what his own situation brought, he said:
“It's hard to explain....(but)....now that I’m suffering, I feel closer to people who suffer than I ever did before....I feel their anguish as if it were my own."
At that moment I recalled an image I had seen online recently of the Dalai Lama on one of Melbourne’s funeral home websites. He was with Les Twentyman who had that day received a gift of $100,000 from him to help homeless youth, who Les and his team reach out too and prompt every single day.
Every life is so very precious.
Of what life is and what always wins Morrie said simply:
"Love wins, love always wins."
At that point I put the book down and began to write this first blog.
So with this small introduction to this intensely personal recounting of the last months of Morrie Schwartz’s life, I leave you.
Here’s the You Tube link to the television interview he did with Ted Koppel, and mentioned in the book, called 'Morrie: Lessons On Living' at http://youtu.be/dcnL2o385Gw Listen for the lessons he shares toward the end.
I hope you can find the book in your local library, bookstore or maybe online at Amazon, or even catch the 1999 film made about him, staring Jack Lemon
With kind wishes always.
Funeral Celebrant & Master of Ceremonies