I smiled a deep, connective smile at the prospect of this task, as ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ was the first gift my late husband had given me. It deeply moved him and deeply moved me on reading. We continued over the years to gift each other the latest Mitch Albolm book published. We went to see the stage production in a tiny theatre in Dublin which only seated thirty people. The actors were marvellous, I remember speaking with the director afterwards saying “everyone should see this, it should be on in The Gaiety, .........& several years later it was.
I love this book and have encouraged many to read it, as it has so much wisdom and meaning. To experience the transformation of Mitch and how he experienced death with Morrie, compared to his previous experience losing his uncle.
He thought that living at breakneck speed, squashing as much as possible into life, was his way to experience happiness and in many ways avoid death. In fact he confused happiness with achievements and material accomplishments........not really experiencing life at all.
Morrie taught him to slow down and experience the bigger picture, what was meaningful in life. This is best described in the parable he relates to Mitch at the end of the book about the little wave so concerned about other waves crashing against the shore. The other wave tells him, you are not a wave, you are part of the ocean.
It is interesting, as Morrie was for most of his life an agnostic. His illness prompted his own search for meaning. At the beginning he fought the disease in many ways. Finding ways to continue his life, getting an assistant so that he could swim, insisting on teaching a class at the college. I think we all search for consistency in a crisis to assist us to cope with change.....to balance things to an acceptable level. It is when we have the courage to let go, to seek out new experiences, we feel energized and a part of something much bigger. This was his message to Mitch.
Morrie's way was to record his death, as a project, something to focus on. I think he was testing his own ability to find meaning and sharing the meaning with Mitch along the way. He waited until the very end to say he loved Mitch and knew Mitch had always loved him too. This interaction was so well placed as Morrie through all of the Tuesday lessons, both when Mitch was in college and during their time together in advance of his death, was teaching Mitch about love.
Love was Morrie's legacy and it was how he hoped and wanted to be remembered. We can't experience love without pain, or enjoy the rainbow without experiencing the clouds.
As is so beautifully put in the words of Kahlil Gibran,
“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven? And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives? When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. “