Tuesdays with Morrie was published over thirteen years ago. One can only imagine what Morrie would think today regarding the many ways in which people try to connect with others around them—online social networks, email, texting, etc. Mitch describes Morrie’s own immediate connectedness: “When Morrie was with you, he was really with you. He looked you straight in the eye, and he listened as if you were the only person in the world.” His thoughtfulness in this regard is both rare and attractive. With conviction, he advises, “I believe in being fully present. That means you should be with the person you’re with. When I’m talking to you now, I try to keep focused only on what is going on between us.” Morrie reminds me of Jesus here. Surely, Jesus was fully present in every situation, without anxious thoughts concerning what was next on his day’s agenda. Jesus was fully focused on the people he was in conversation with or healing or teaching. We all would do well to heed the counsel of Morrie when he says, “Be more involved in your life while you’re living.” The reason we don’t experience the world fully, he says, is “because we’re half-asleep, doing things we automatically think we have to do.” God’s wisdom says: Be sober-minded, be watchful (1 Pet. 5.8). All things are lawful. Yet, not all things are profitable. Do not be enslaved by anything (1 Cor. 6.12).
Love Each Other or Perish
“Love each other or perish,” is the reverberating refrain of all Morrie’s words. After all, he says that the most important thing in life is to “learn how to give out love and to let it come in.” These are very wise words as they reflect the second greatest commandment to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22.39). He adds, “Love is when you are as concerned about someone else’s situation as you are about your own.” This definition of love shows Morrie’s familiarity with Christianity and the Bible. As Paul himself says, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil. 2.4). As well, the ideal of love was so significant that he shaped part of the search for a meaningful life by it. “Devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.” As discussed earlier, Morrie saw the need of being fully human as partially fulfilled by being in relation with others.
Tuesdays with Morrie is an eye-opening and life-transforming little book of wisdom. I am thankful for the common grace given to Morrie Schwartz who lived with such seeming love and humility toward his fellow human beings. As love for the apostle Paul was the highest of all things in life to pursue in relation to mankind, so it was for Morrie. His life of many lessons is a gift of wisdom to any who has ears to hear and take heed.