Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My Tuesday With Morrie

Today, is a Tuesday.
I went to the hospital with my Grandmother for treatment. While in a hurry to go out this morning, I hastily grabbed a book from the dusty shelf, hoping to do some reading while waiting. And this morning, was filled with tears, joy and many lessons learnt.

Years ago, I watched the movie and bought the book from a second hand bookstore. But the book sat on my shelf untouched until this morning. I finished the book in one sitting, not taking my eyes off the book except to take care of my Grandmother and also to help a few elderly people around the hospital.

I don't really know how to summarise the book. Basically, it is a "final thesis" as Morrie put it between Mitch Albom and his favourite teacher, Morrie. The lesson took place every Tuesday, in Morrie's house and later by his deathbed. Mitch Albom wrote this book in the memory of Morrie, who inspired his life and mine as well. Morrie had a nervous disease, ALS. The same disease that disabled Stephan Hawkings, but this one killed Morrie.

As I was reading the book, reality hit my hard in the face. A dying man was embracing life and accepting death while a young girl like myself was wallowing in self pity and complains!! It also made me realise that so many of us are living such superficial lives, taking note of everything around the world, but forgetting the people around us. Morrie mentioned that maybe even we ourselves do not realise that we live to please other, chasing a dream world of materials, putting fame and success above love and family, and many more. Does visiting your family once a month really mean loving your family? Does working compulsively with the excuse of using the money to feed the family really loving your family? What happen to emotional needs and attention that a family really needs? Do we really bother to keep in touch with people after we say goodbye in the end of a party or a graduation? Have we ever really listen to a person speak, like look the person in the eyes and give him/her our full attention? I thought I did all those but after reading this book, I realise that some of these actions were superficial too.

Morrie talked about living to the fullest and die in peace. He talked about conquering fear, peer pressure, forming one sub-culture, and many other topics. It was amazing how a man so close to death, can attend his own "living funeral" and laugh in peace, even knowing that he was going to die. Morrie was also very optimistic by saying that he is lucky to be dying this way, to say goodbye to all the people and also to do the last things in his life. Lucky? Most of us, when struck by such disease would likely to put ourselves in self pity, emphathy and obviously to complain about the pain. Maybe some would resolve to suicide to end the pain before it becomes too great. But for Morrie, he hung on long enough to inspire the world. As I read the book, I feel like I was watching him withered and died. He lost his independance and his privacy when the disease disabled him, making him unable to even perform simple acts of cleaning his own bottom. Yet, Morrie was still able to joke about it and made it into yet another life lesson.

His favourite line "Love each other or die".
That is so true. In this world, it is cruel and materialistic enough with all the things going on. Even people who we thought as friends can backstab us any minute. But shielding away from being true to others and yourself make life so fake and meaningless. Thus, love each other or die. If you don't start loving, your family, friends, or even enemies, a bit of you die away each day, because love is actually what the soul needs.

It was really great that I grabbed this book instead of some other books. Because this Tuesday, I've grown a little, went deeper in soul searching and self discovery, made peace with myself in some issues, and learnt many lessons. Although I did not know Morrie personally, but today, I laughed with him, think about him, and cried with him. The last page, which wrote of his death, I actually felt serene, because Morrie had taught me how to live.

Thank you Morrie, for making this Tuesday better than last Tuesday. For teaching me such great lesson...

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