Monday, February 4, 2013

Busy Day, Empty Life

Well I finally read Tuesdays With Morrie. I've been wanting to ever since I read Mitch Albom's book Have A Little Faith. It seems like Mitch Albom is always talking to incredibly wise old men who are close to dying.  In Tuesdays With Morrie Albom has weekly meetings with an old professor and mentor named Morrie. Morrie is dying and before he goes he shares his experiences and wisdom.

This book made me think about a lot of things. One thing in particular stood out to me. In the book Albom shares an experience where he is at Wimbledon and on a high energy day he was knocked down by a rushing group of reporters and photographers as they tried to chase down a celebrity. This made Albom think about something Morrie said: "So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning." 

Albom expounds on his experience in England at the tennis tournament. He noticed the tabloids and headline newspapers. Alboms says, "People scooped up these tabloids, devoured their gossip, and on previous trips to England, I had always done the same. But now, for some reason, I found myself thinking about Morrie whenever I read anything silly or mindless. I kept picturing him there, in the house...counting his breath, squeezing out every moment with his loved ones, while I spent so many hours on things that meant absolutely nothing to me personally  movie stars, supermodels, the latest noise out of Princess Di, or Madonna, or John F Kennedy Jr. In a strange way, I envied the quality of Morrie's time...Why did we bother with all the distractions we did? Back home, the O.J. Simpson trial was in full swing, and there were people who surrendered their entire lunch hours watching it, then taped the rest so they could watch more at night. They didn't know O.J. Simpson. They didn't know anyone involved in the case. Yet they gave up days and weeks of their lives, addicted to someone else's drama.
          "I remember what Morrie said during our visit: 'The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn't work, don't buy it." 

The ideas that Morrie and Mitch have remind me of book I read recently, A Pilgrim's Regress, by C.S. Lewis. It chronicles the story of a man named John Bunyan as he searches for an Island. He meets many people with many ideas, but one hit me hard, a man named Mr. Halfways. Halfways brings John to his home and sings for him. During the song John has a vision of the Island, and as he is about to reach the Island something always happens that distracts him from reaching it. He never makes it, because some halfway thing keeps him from it.

I think we do this a lot in our lives. We fill it up with halfway things, things that aren't what we really want, but its good enough for now, and we settle. There are examples of this all over our lives, and Albom gives good examples from his experience at Wimbledon. Last semester I was filling my life with these halfways. I was so busy, but not very happy. Doing so many things and running all over, but never having enough time for what's important. I tried to slow down a little bit this semester so I can focus on the essentials. It has made a difference in my life. This is also one reason why I'm doing this trip. The reasons links to what Morrie said about breaking out of these halfways, "The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning." 

I love what Dieter F. Uchtdorf says in this video I posted below. It is good to slow down, to take a moment for the essentials. To find what really matters, and to devote ourselves to helping others. I'm afraid that if we don't, we may have busy days, but empty lives.


Anonymous said...

Hey that video was spectacular! I think it's a wonderful idea to slow things down and enjoy life more. I get distracted by the dumb stuff. Thanks for the reminder!

Sheri said...

What a great reminder to focus on things that matter most! This trip is for such a great cause that will change lives. Thank you for living life instead of sitting on the sidelines.