“You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you.”
– C.S. Lewis –
Always keeping an eye out for a good book on mentoring, I had planned for a long time to read Mitch Albom’s book Tuesdays with Morrie.
I just finished the book, but it wasn’t quite what I’d expected. Well, it does deal with mentoring, but to be specific, it’s more about relationships and how death helps to focus on what‘s important – on how to truly “live” life. The book has been in my ‘to read’ pile for a while but apparently I had miss-characterized what it’s about. I hadn’t realized (or didn’t remember) that it’s an observance of the process of death for the title character. It’s about Mitch Albom’s final ‘class’ with his old professor, Morrie Schwartz – ‘Lessons in Living’ from a dying man.
(Extra Note: Another outstanding book that has a similar focus is The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.)
Personally, I need repeated reminders to forget about the trivial and focus more on the important things in life, and Tuesdays with Morrie did help me to do that. Thinking about death, and in effect, reflecting on how one lives, is a good thing to do once in a while.
Tuesdays with Morrie is also about emotional intimacy, something men as a whole still aren’t very good at. Us guys, we will push ourselves to work hard and then reward ourselves by ‘playing’ hard. But we avoid going deep in our relationships, sometimes even with that one woman we have committed our lives to. “The most important thing in life,” Morrie said, “is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.”
Life is all too often about learning to sacrifice, working through difficulties and making hard decisions. C.S. Lewis said, “Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny.”
The relationship between Mitch Albom and his professor had been strong back in school, but after graduation, Mitch left college behind and became a successful sports journalist. The book is about Albom’s reconnection with Morrie. They covered quiet a lot in that ‘class on life.’
Then there’s this conversation about when Morrie will have died – what then?
“I’ve picked a place to be buried.”
Where is that?
“Not far from here. On a hill, beneath a tree, overlooking a pond. Very serene. A good place to think.”
Are you planning on thinking there?
“I’m planning on being dead there.”
He chuckles. I chuckle.
“Will you visit?”
“Just come and talk. Make it a Tuesday. You always come on Tuesdays.”
“Look at me,” he says.
“You’ll come to my grave? To tell me your problems?”
And you’ll give me answers?
“I’ll give you what I can. Don’t I always?”
It won’t be the same, I say, not being able to hear you talk.
He closes his eyes and smiles.
“Tell you what. After I’m dead, you talk. And I’ll listen.”
~ ~ ~
And not to forget, there’s life after death to consider. I ‘m confident in an afterlife with a loving God – with a whole lot of time to continue to love and grow and learn.
“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life — the life God is sending one day by day.”
– C.S. Lewis