As he battles with ALS, he comes in contact again with his former student, Mitch. The circumstances of Mitch matched his need for a teacher once more as he seeks direction and guidance in his life. At some point in the book, Morrie implied that We all need teachers in our lives (Albom 65). The supposedly one-time visit led to a regular meeting every Tuesday. Morrie and Mitch would then discuss the different facets of life, and in the process unveil its meaning.
Broad as it may seem, the meaning of life was simplified by Morrie by putting it in the context of how we should live our lives. It is all about living your life doing things that outlives your life”that even when youre gone, you will remain alive in the hearts and memories of the people youve touched. Finding a meaningful life is about devoting yourself to loving others, devoting yourself to your community around you, and devoting yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning. (127) It is not the tangible things that make ones life meaningful; instead, it is the intangible things such as love and service that makes your life worthwhile. If I were to summarize it in one word, life is all about giving.
In every chapter of the book, it always talks about something that you can give like love, forgiveness, acts of kindness such as a helping hand, a listening ear, an encouraging word, an undivided attention, and most importantly, an open heart that serves as a reservoir of all that you can give. But among all these, the strongest binding factor in life remains to be none other than love. The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in. (52) Loving indeed is a sure indication that we are living, and that we are giving something that has infinite value.
Life can also be taken in the context of death. As Morrie stated, Learn how to die, and you learn how to live. (83) When you know that you are dying, you will look at things differently and do things differently. You will love without inhibitions, value your family all the more, focus on giving your time and abilities to other people who may need it, reconcile with people whom you may have hurt, and start doing things that give you purpose and meaning.
These happen upon the realization that youre just as good as your next breath, and that you can die anytime. If we will all think this way then most probably we will accumulate less and give more. The ticking of our life clock will push us to do the most important things yet ironically the simplest things, and more often than not these are the very acts that we often take for granted.
Morrie summarizes these things for us, As long as we can love each other, and remember the feeling of love we had, we can die without ever really going away. All the love you created is still there. You live on”in the hearts of everyone you have touched and nurtured while you were here. (174) At the end of the day, this is what life is all about”living a life of love that will outlive the life you lived.
Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays with Morrie. New York: Bantam Doubleday, 1997.