Do you ever dream of going back to school? As someone who loves learning, I am dreading my approaching college graduation. But one of the most valuable lessons I have learned in my life is that we never really stop learning. Every new experience, every person we meet has a story we can benefit from. Mitch Albom’s 1997 novella “Tuesdays with Morrie” is the perfect example of one man’s experience with that kind of education.
Many years after his college graduation, Mitch learns that one of his favorite professors, a man named Morrie Schwartz, has ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. This means that Morrie will soon be unable to move his muscles, and his condition will slowly deteriorate until he can no longer breathe. Morrie and his wife are forced to change their lifestyle. But instead of dwelling on his fate, Morrie opens up his Boston home to all his friends and family. He shares a world of knowledge in the mere 192 pages of Ablom’s book.
Mitch, the narrator and author of the book, decides to visit Morrie one Tuesday afternoon. These visits soon become weekly rituals in which Mitch learns life lessons from his old teacher. He begins to call them “classes” saying,
The last class of my old professor’s life took place once a week, in his home, by a window in his study…The class met on Tuesdays. No books were required. The subject was the meaning of life. It was taught from experience.
Eventually, Mitch decides to record their meetings on a tape so that he can go back and write down Morrie’s words of wisdom. Together, Mitch and Morrie uncover the mysteries surrounding the meaning of life, spirituality, happiness, education and compassion.
But “Tuesdays with Morrie” is more than just a book about education. It is also a sympathetic discussion of illness, and how we can learn from those who are sick or dying. How ironic it is that at the end of our lives when we begin to deteriorate physically and sometimes mentally, we have the most to offer those around us. For Mitch, this is a comfort. Morrie inspires him to change his daily routine in order to get more out of life so that one day he can be as fulfilled as Morrie is at the end of his life.
Although these themes have been the topic of conversations among authors for years, Albom has a unique way of using his talks with Morrie to reveal similarities in all of us. He speaks a lot about Morrie and his condition, yet Mitch is mindful that this is his story. He is the one who is gaining knowledge through Morrie’s teachings.
Whatever is currently on your “To Read” list, I highly recommend placing “Tuesdays with Morrie” on top. Albom’s true story is an impactful read. It might make you reach for the tissues, but it is definitely worth your time.