Tuesdays With Morrie

“The most important thing in life is to give out love, and to let it come in.” Morrie Schwartz

I cried when I finished reading Tuesday’s With Morrie by Mitch Albom. Yesterday morning at 6:00 I closed the book, leaned on my knees in the padded rocking chair and sat in silence. I’ve seen the movie, but the words written were well timed as I come to the close of the winter of my discontent.

As Morrie Schwartz’s body relinquished its rights to the debilitating effects of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS, commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, his spirit/soul gained strength and momentum. One of Morrie’s college students, Mitch, reconnected with him after a sixteen year absence. Mitch began flying from Detroit to the east coast to visit his professor every Tuesday. The memoir captured their often poignant conversations about life, death, and the space between.

When was the last time you had a poignant conversation with someone, your spouse, a friend, a relative, or a complete stranger? When did you make eye contact or embrace with the freedom of knowing trust and grace? Humans are designed for connection, relationship, and community, are they not?

I signed off Facebook, the ‘ultimate’ social endeavor, over the Christmas rush (I deliver for UPS). I signed back on in January, to delete my account later after I realized it affected my real time, in house relationships. I was distracted, unfocused, and longed for affirmation and ‘likes’ to underline my existence. By the way, this isn’t a wagging finger at anyone who Facebooks, no. Someday when I am on the other side of this ‘reboot’ of my life I will return to social media of this sort. Not as an escape or some sort of pseudo therapist, but to connect in a healthier way.

Some of you know my real life is full, full, full…of, well, life. My comrade and love Barbara and I keep working at being on the same page with all these children around. I keep falling off the page. She has been in the trenches as I go off to the Big Brown UPS. It’s a culture we chose with little knowledge as to how stretching and challenging it would be. As with any challenge we were brought to our knees on many levels. There is lots of baggage sitting around to trip over. Sheesh.

So, we are looking over our own baggage to see what we can do to get on the plane with just a carry-on. This involves self-examination. As Socrates aptly said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” So, this winter acted like a white cocoon as I prayed a little, thought a little, and got (and am getting) some help from a counselor, a class, and always from Barbara, who knows me better than I do.

So, back to the book at hand. Listening in on Morrie and Mitch’s conversations woke me up to the possibility of deeper relationships and re-engaging. Quite honestly, I would rather stay in the cocoon sometimes. Retreat and withdrawal come naturally to me. I even had it out with my writing and told it to leave and not to let the door hit it in the ass on the way out.

I found that I had a form of ALS of the heart. I wasn’t nurturing the God given relationships right here, right now. All the distractions, work, and activities didn’t do a thing for what really matters…the heart. Ask Morrie, he will lay it out for you. His aphorisms and quotes from poetry will engage you. Even this agnostic “lifer” relinquished to engaging with God.

I will end with an excerpt.

“Love is so extremely important. As our great poet Auden said, ‘Love each other or perish.’”
Mitch wrote it down.
“Love each other or perish,” Morrie said. “It’s good, no? And it’s so true. Without love, we are birds without wings.”

Comments

  1. Without love, we are birds without wings… so well said… we’re def. made for connection – and real life connection more than the virtual connection on the web – even though i enjoy this as well and i’m thankful for the wonderful people i met on the web – but then we all need to focus – and priority have those around us – fam and friends.. happy sunday to you jerry

  2. I learn so much from your insights into life itself, people and needed and unneeded things

  3. Maybe your post title should have been “Saturday with Jerry.” Thanks for sharing your insights!

  4. Hey Jerry, For some reason, I thought about you today and then I tried to remember the last time I had seen you on Facebook and I couldn’t. So when I checked and found you weren’t on anymore, I had to poke around and see if you were okay. Glad to see that you are. I joined Facebook to stay in touch with far-flung family and friends, and for that it has been great. I do find it way too distracting when I should be working, even though I don’t play games. Way too easy to start looking at stories people link to, to find out things about people I didn’t really need to know, and about news stories that break my heart without adding anything to life at all other than a disgust of other humans which is something I don’t like to have. On the other hand, other stories hand your faith in humanity back to you when you watch them, so it’s 6 of one, half a dozen, yada yada yada. Maybe i’ll see you around there again some day.

    • I plan to return to FB sometime. For now the break is helping me focus. Thanks for your comment Janine. I do miss keeping up with everyone.

  5. Hi Jerry–you don’t know me, but I’m just browsing all things Tuesdays with Morrie, and I stumbled on your blog. Your post was really touching–thank you so much for sharing. It’s been my favorite book since I was 15 years old.

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