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Morrie Schwartz (on rushing for meaning)

“Everyone is in such a hurry. People haven’t found meaning in their lives, so they’re running all the time looking for it. They think the next car, the next house, the next job. Then they find those things are empty, too, and they keep running.”

Morrie Schwartz (1916-1995) was a “teacher to the last”. A professor of sociology at Brandeis University, he became a household name through the dignified, unashamed and generous manner of his dying from ALS (“Lou Gehrig‘s Disease”). The news magazine show “Nightline” featured him several times during his excruciating but somehow uplifting decline. Of course, Mitch Albom‘s huge-selling 1997 memoir, Tuesdays With Morrie, made Schwartz well-known and loved around the world.

Written to help his dear old college prof pay his medical bills, Albom’s sixth book — he was already a top American sports journalist — became a publishing sensation. It’s a thin, profound meditation on how dying well can teach us to live well, and on the teachers and examples we so deeply yearn for. Albom, almost accidentally, rediscovered his. You shouldn’t hesitate to read it just ’cause it’s famous, but don’t be in a hurry. Watch JH.com like a hawk, though, because I’ll be writing  I just posted one of my “Better Read Than Never” book reviews, which will help has helped at least one of us to find meaning in life.

Comment (1)

  1. Michael Freeman

    And running. And running. And running. Meaning and purpose in life are elusive entities, those intangibles that some seem to be fine living without and still others seem unable to continue living until they find it.

    I am one of those that need to feel it, and touch it and taste it, but most of all I need to know that I am living a purposeful life that has some meaning in the grand unfolding of the creator’s purpose. I have searched and searched in many areas and ways, and still I seek. And still I do not find.

    I became frustrated in a life filled with pain and discomfort, filled with a sense of isolation and rebuke, living with confusion and disillusionment. Only marginally, and occasionally, have I found that which I have sought for so many years. It wasn’t until I stopped looking that I did the most finding.

    I picked up this book years ago, as soon as it came out in paperback, and I never did read it. I tried. I got distracted and bored and didn’t finish. I do not even know whether I still have that copy. I buy so many books and leave them unread as the perceived interest and passion to read them seems to wane on the long drive home. Reading always gives way to lethargy, and tiredness, and complacency and TV.

    I have filled my life with distraction, things that I thought I was meant to do, for many years, only to now begin to understand what is truly important to me. Yes, I may have played a role in my union, in activism, in volunteerism, in education, but maybe much, if not all of that, was distraction to my real purpose and that which gives meaning to my life. And I still don’t know what that is.

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