I’m reading “Tuesdays With Morrie” a book given to me by friends as a retirement present. Morrie is dying of ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a horrible way to live and die. Your brain continues to work the same way it’s always worked but the rest of your body is atrophying, dying. In his case starting at the feet and working tragically, diabolically upward until at the end he suffocated. Kind of like a flower withering up and dying after it’s cut.
Morrie was a professor and the author, Mitch Albom, one of his former students who were reunited after sixteen years of no contact. As a student, they were very close; a mixture of Mentor-mentee, life coach-friend, father-son.
Morrie loves people. I don’t. I love some people but not people as a whole. They have too many problems, too many interruptions to my schedule, too many distractions. My wife is a people lover, and it wears me out watching all the work it requires. Besides they don’t care about me and life is all about me, right?
But I think Morrie is on to something. Loving others is what really matters in life, Jesus thought so, so he’s in pretty good company.
When I was much younger, I didn’t like to be alone because I always had to have someone/something to keep my mind occupied. Perhaps I just didn’t want to be alone with me? Now that I’m older, much older, I like to be alone. No doubt because I’m an introvert and perhaps years of therapy and study have helped me to like myself more, better. Another reason may be that I’m lazy and relationships require work, lots of it; and it’s much safer/easier being left alone to read about relationships rather than actually having bunches of ’em. Or, perhaps, like the author I’ve been to busy with my job and life to take the time to look and see what’s really important. Kind of like the rich young fool building bigger barns not knowing his soul was in jeopardy.
It’s sad that many people don’t realize what’s really important in life until they’re older and wake up one morning and realize there’s got to be more to life than work and the rat race of life. So, thank you Morrie, Mitch Albom, Shannon, Lori, Tom for helping me to see that people and not barns are what matters and watching the Hallmark Channel is not nearly as much fun as hall marking real, live people. And, when life gets to hectic and demanding, just stop and think about what’s really important, people. Oh, all these other worldly concerns won’t just fade away, like General MacArthur said about old soldiers. But life is about perspective and priorities and life has a way of muddying them up. Let’s intentionally set aside time each day to redirect our perspective on what’s really important and what’s a priority and what can wait. And, not discover when we’re old and retiring how much of the really important things in life we’ve missed out on.