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Isn't it pretty?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Really Living

Over Shabbos, I decided to reread the book "Tuesdays with Morrie." The last time I read the book, I was probably about 18 or 19 years old. I remember that after reading it, I gave the book to a friend of mine whose mother was dying of cancer. I think she probably got more from it than I did. I got only a little ways into the book on Shabbos (though I could have stayed up all night reading it, it is a hard one to put down). But even just reading a little bit of it, I realized that when I read it before, I was too young to really appreciate the messages the book holds. Even in the first few chapters, I was blown away by the lessons that were stored inside every page. So far, too things struck me. First of all, Mitch Albom was incredibly lucky to have a teacher like Morrie. Teachers, whether they are formal classroom teachers, or just teachers we run into in our daily lives, can carve such deep grooves into our psyches. The problem is when we fill in those grooves and ignore the deep lines that were drilled into our souls. I have been fortunate to have a couple amazing teachers in my life (usually showing up in my life when I needed them the most - thank you to Hashem for that), and I hope I don't forget the lessons they taught me. I do know that it fades with time, and I have to consciously remind myself to hold on to the things I have learned - things like making life meaningful, believing in yourself, and caring about others. Morrie taught all that to Mitch. The line that I came across that struck me hard was one from the student, rather than the teacher. Mitch, before starting his weekly classes with Morrie, was a successful, wealthy sportswriter. He was jet-setting all over the world, living it up. But he writes about that part of his life: "My days were full, yet I remained, much of the time, unsatisfied." I know what he is saying. It is so easy to get so caught up in the mundane details of life that it is sometimes hard to stop and smell the proverbial roses. I sometimes find myself trying to fill my hours with anything, just so I don't have to sit around bored. But the things I fill my life with don't mean anything either. So, it is those moments where you are really connecting, or helping another person, or doing something to improve yourself that really count. It's those moments when I catch myself really enjoying life. Laughing or crying, thinking or just relaxing in the company of those I love. Those moments are the ones, that hopefully when enough of them are combined, that make living day by day into a life. Morrie was an incredible teacher of life - he lived each moment to its fullest. Dancing, interacting, teaching, crying. He didn't care whether he did what was expected - he lived. I can't wait to re-read the rest of the book.

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