Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

This story is more of an biographical thesis in which Mitch Albom captures the last months of a dear professor's life. It encompasses memories of who Mitch had once been and thoughts on who he had become. It captures the best and worst moments of a man who knows he is dying and is at peace with that.

Overall I am ambiguous about the book. There are bits of wisdom for us all, but I found, for me, that these great life lessons that the author was receiving are common sense ideas taught by living the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not a religious book and though the dying professor has gleaned insight from a number of religions and religious leaders, he also has borrowed from poets, musicians, and authors. The number one lesson is to love others. This isn't any big newsflash. In fact, in the September Visiting Teaching message, Elder M. Russell Ballard is quoted as saying, "The plan of happiness is available to all of his children. If the world would embrace and live it, peace, joy, and plenty would abound on the earth. Much of the suffering we know today would be eliminated if people throughout the world would understand and live the gospel." He said that back in 1995. It is still true today and probably even more relevant as the world we live in becomes more and more greedy and concerned about the individual rather than the common welfare of all.

I actually had picked up the movie as well by mistake. Well, I had reserved what I thought was the book, only to find out I had reserved the movie. So I watched the movie after reading half of the book. The life lessons were similar but I was very disappointed that they decided to put a different spin on Mitch's relationship with Janine. In the book, they are married and she gets him. They have put off having children, and who knows why though there are probably many factors involved. In the movie, they are not married, only dating, and it is supposedly through Mitch's weekly visits with Morrie that he decides to propose and this is after she has already ended the relationship. Yes, Tuesdays with Morrie changed Mitch and his outlook on life. But isn't it much better to portray reality - that so often our insights affect us in the little ways but deeply, rather than having this great outward appearance of change, but leaves you wondering what will be the fate in five or ten years when Morrie's presence has dissipated and his influence has lessened.

What I did like from the book was Morrie's take on death. He didn't just give in to the disease and wait for his life to waste away. He continued to live and to do so with all the energy he could muster. He probably lived more in those last months than many people truly live in their entire lives. It is an inspiring message for all readers to not wait until death is knocking at your door to embrace the idea of living, instead, to start living now. Living happily and doing those things which are fulfilling. Giving to your community, supporting your family, not putting off out of fear or apathy those things which will enrich your life.

1 comment:

Linda White said...

We missed you - and your comments - at book club last Wednesday. Linda