For many of us, the mention of the name Mitch Albom is unfamiliar – even when told he’s a celebrity all around the world. But perhaps he’s better known for his craft than his name – I’m sure you’re all familiar with the book Tuesdays With Morrie, which spent 4 years on the New York Time’s Bestsellers List – with good reason.
Albom’s talent is simply immeasurable – impacting the lives of his many readers with, “An elegantly simple story about a writer getting a second chance to discover life through the death of a friend”, as stated by the Tampa Tribune and echoed through the hearts and minds of countless others.
The most poignant and inspirational message to come from Tuesdays With Morrie can be found towards the conclusion. Albom states, “None of us can undo what we’ve done, or relive a life already recorded. But if Professor Morris Schwartz taught me anything at all, it was this: there is no such thing as “too late” in life. He was changing until the day he said good-bye.”
One of the greatest shortfalls mankind has inherited from one generation to the next is the art of putting off today what you can do tomorrow – procrastination being the technical term. We are raised to believe that we always have more time, never realizing that today could be the last tomorrow we ever see. There are no certainties in life – no guarantees that we’ll be given the time to follow through on the things we put off until we’re older, have a few more bucks in the bank or our children go off to college. Reading Tuesdays With Morrie truly enables you to see that the world waits for no one, and while we’re busy waiting until tomorrow, life is passing us by.
I myself struggle everyday to keep myself grounded. Not an easy task by any means as the endless pressures and stereotypes of life try their best to consume even the strongest individual. It’s hard to imagine there existed a man like Morris Schwartz – one who wasn’t easily impressed by cutting edge technology, fancy cars, overpriced clothing or a cell phone glued to your ear. He didn’t care about any of those things – they were simply unimportant. That’s not always so easy however especially today when society dictates how we should conduct our lives.
I have a great deal of admiration and respect for everyone’s favorite neighbor, Fred Rogers. Many people seem perplexed at times and wonder why this fascination exists for a man that changed his shoes and jacket when he entered the room and on occasion was known to talk to puppets. But it goes deeper than all that. Look around you and ask yourselves when was the last time you met a person that felt so passionately about life? That remained upbeat even in the face of adversity and sorrow? Even when faced with the news that his life would soon be over, he made the most of each and every day he had with family and friends. We spend so much time allowing life to consume us that we lose sight of so many gifts life has afforded us.
Both Fred Rogers and Morris Schwartz were diagnosed with terminal illnesses later in life. One would assume these unfortunate circumstances would be enough to finally break the upbeat, positive persona that made these two so memorable to so many. But that wasn’t the case. Much like they did all their lives and professed to generations of listeners, they never let the pressures of life overcome the blessings. Maybe that’s the key to life – not wallowing in the challenges life continually throws our way but rejoicing in the abundant gifts we take for granted. Maybe then we’ll stop wasting time making excuses for the things we can’t do until tomorrow. The old saying goes “tomorrow is another day”. But there are no certainties in life – no guarantees that we’ll be given the time to follow through on so many things we put off until then. Maybe it’s time we all start living tomorrow, today.
Tuesdays With Morrie Copyright © 1997 by Mitch Albom.