The Beautiful Gift

A few years ago I picked up the book Tuesday’s with Morrie and couldn’t put it down once I started reading. The subject of the story is Morrie Schwartz, a former teacher who was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gherig’s Disease.

If it is possible to die gracefully from such a debilitating disease, this is a story about doing just that.

The author of the book is one of Schwartz’s former students who sits with him regularly to chat and hear stories about his youth, growing up, falling in love, his passions and death.

Far from a sad story, this is about the joy of life and how Schwartz is grateful to have lived a full life, to have loved ones around him, to have people to take care of him and to be able to still enjoy some simple pleasures.

“Take my condition. The things I am supposed to be embarrassed about now — not being able to walk, not being able to wipe my ass, waking up some mornings wanting to cry — there is nothing innately embarrassing about them. It’s the same for women not being thin enough, or men not being rich enough. It’s just what our culture would have you believe. Don’t believe it.” -Morrie

“As you grow, you learn more. If you stayed as ignorant as you were at twenty- two, you’d always be twenty-two. Aging is not just decay, you know. It’s growth. It’s more than the negative that you’re going to die, it’s the positive that you understand you’re going to die, and that you live a better life because of it.” -Morrie

The book had a profound impact on my thinking about the past, aging and being happy about what I have instead of what I don’t have.

“The truth is . . . once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.” -Morrie

4 Responses to The Beautiful Gift
  1. Anthony Michael
    November 26, 2010 | 21:54

    Awesome! I downloaded to my Kindle today. Will read it this weekend.

  2. Jacob Sokol
    November 26, 2010 | 23:19

    When my girl sat me down to watch this on netflix, i thought i was in for another chick flick. Granted it wasn’t fight club, it was still a wise tale. Nice post!

  3. Eliot Burdett
    November 26, 2010 | 23:26

    Anthony – it’s a short read and you won’t regret it.

  4. Eliot Burdett
    November 26, 2010 | 23:27

    Thanks brother. You are right it’s no fight club, but I imagine you’d have to be pretty tough to scrap with ALS and keep smiling.

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