Mitch Albom’s ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ is a wonderful book filled with life’s greatest lessons. It is a true story about an old dying man that teaches many lessons about the various facets of life i.e. loss, physical affection, greed, compassion and modesty. It is an inspirational recount of a man’s life – a man whose passion for the human spirit has continued to live long after his last breath, writes Supriya Batra.
“Tuesdays with Morrie” is a wonderful thought provoking book especially if someone is going through a rough phase in life. One can say there are two stories within “Tuesdays with Morrie”. One is the story of a man and a disease. The other is the story of a professor of social psychology who has come to understand that life’s complexities can be broken down into simple truths. What inspired me most in this book was the power of connections, especially Morrie’s connections to the world. Without that, this book wouldn’t exist. ‘Everything is connected with one another. The problem is, we ourselves disrupt the connection –we refused to get connected. But why?’
One of the most important lessons from the book was that of ‘Connection and Disconnection’. Both are natural processes. Ironic as it may sound, they are not opposites. They are co-existing. One can’t be disconnected if one were not connected. And you wouldn’t know that you’re connected unless you experience disconnection.
Some of Morrie’s greatest insights are his views on the role our culture plays in our lives. He spent his life creating his own culture, listening to his heart and doing what was right for him, versus what was right by society’s standards. One problem he sees is that we tend to see each other as dissimilar rather than alike. We are taught to be independent and unique but in reality we all have the same needs. He emphasises on investment in people, not things. One of the quotes that I found very enlightening was “In the beginning of life, when we are infants, we need others to survive, right? And at the end of life, when you get like me, you need others to survive right?… But here’s the secret: in between, we need others as well.” When all is said and done, we will be remembered not by our bank accounts or stock portfolios, but by the time we spent listening to a friend or helping a family member. End will come to all of us but making the most of the time is what is said in each and every line of the book. There are many pages where one will want to stop and re-read because many powerful messages are conveyed here in a very simple yet beautiful manner. Few lines that made me think twice are mentioned below:
“So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”
Morrie speaks to every person because he is every person. He has led a simple yet meaningful life that inspires all to live theirs to the fullest. Perhaps his story is more powerful because one is not only taking in his wisdom but also experiencing his death. In his words, he is fortunate enough to know he is dying, to take stock of his life as it comes to an end. He handles this with bravery and compassion, and when the final moment comes one feels as though you’ve lost a dear friend. And undoubtedly, the most powerful message of the book is conveyed through this one – liner, “Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.”