Life moves at a rapid pace. There are times when it can feel like everyone around you is working toward something. They walk with deafening purpose. You must follow or catch up, or you’ll fall back and fail.
I feel myself thinking in those terms quite often. Work. Work. Work. There’s always something happening, someone else is always advancing, if I make a wrong step I’ll miss out.
I’m in the summer before my senior year, currently dabbling in a bit of freelancing for a Downtown Los Angeles based newspaper, so I’ve had a couple months to catch my breath. I was randomly looking through my book shelf, and came across a book that I’ve heard a lot about yet have never gotten around to reading: “Tuesdays with Morrie.”
I gave it a shot and couldn’t put it down. The story is gripping. A student with no real purpose in life (the author, Mitch Albom) comes across a professor in college who he is drawn to immediately. They lose touch after Albom graduates from undergrad. He eventually goes to grad school for journalism and builds a life in the sports media industry.
One day he catches his old professor, Morrie Schwartz, on “Nightline,” and learns that Schwartz is suffering from ALS. Albom goes to visit Schwartz, and they soon pick up a routine of meeting on Tuesdays. They converse about life and other topics, which Albom writes about in the book.
Albom, a busy, fast-paced, hardworking journalist finds a sense of peace in breaking his hectic routine to visit his dying friend. And reading the book makes you feel as if you’re taking the journey with Albom, as a fly on the wall during their Tuesday talks.
Additionally, Albom includes little anecdotes in between the chapters. For example, one being about a time in class in which Schwartz had them play the faith game (the one where you fall back into a stranger’s arms). It provides a striking point from Schwartz:
“Sometimes you cannot believe what you see, you have to believe what you feel” (61).
I reread the passages like that one a few times over — it gets you thinking, contemplating life. Something to sincerely appreciate about the book is that it isn’t a religious sermon. Schwartz nor Albom is preaching a specific belief to the masses. It’s simply candid, unfiltered conversations about life.
Another gem I’m sure many can relate to comes up as they have a talk about money:
“Do the kind of things that come from the heart. When you do, you won’t be dissatisfied, you won’t be envious, you won’t be longing for somebody else’s things. On the contrary, you’ll be overwhelmed with what comes back” (128).
And about marriage:
“Love each other or perish” (149).
A piece of advice that Schwartz repeats to Albom many times is that you must learn to die in order to live. Taking into consideration this book and the millions of copies it’s sold, the people it’s touched, that rings eerily true. Based off what Albom writes, Schwartz appreciated almost every moment of his life in a way that allowed him to embrace his own inevitable death.
It made me think about what’s important in life — all the little things. Live with purpose, because at the end of the road, the fame and fortune fades away. You’re only left with family and those you touched along the way.