By: Ivan Cooley
I found the book Tuesdays with Morrie to be a very poignant and touching book; its story was uplifting and encouraging. I appreciated its message that our only hope in this world is based in love. We live in a society that conditions us to acquire as much money, power, respect, status, and material goods as we can. We substitute our love of one another with our love of things. Often we think that only those that are favored or cherished deserve our love.
Tuesdays with Morrie is not the only place where I have heard and wrestled with such messages; I have witnessed and become acquainted with them at Mercy. Reading this book, I’m almost surprised that Morrie learned these lessons of loving and giving somewhere other than my church.
Morrie advises his young student 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. You’ll notice,’ he added grinning, ‘there’s nothing in there about a salary.’”
There are times when I have wondered whether this house of love in a cold, cruel world is all that it is cracked up to be, but then I think about Morrie’s words, “Of course we have pain and suffering. But giving to other people is what makes me feel alive. Not my car or my house. Not what I look like in the mirror. When I give my time, when I can make someone smile after they are feeling sad, it is as close to healthy as I ever feel,” and I know them to be true—I feel a sort of verification for my experience. This is exactly what I struggle and strive to believe, live, and practice faithfully each day. At Mercy we say life is God’s work in process. We use the word process so much it has become our catch-phrase.
The dictionary defines process as “a natural phenomenon marked by gradual changes that lead toward a particular result.” That is a good scientific sounding definition, but I like to think of process as more of a journey. It is a journey where we meet and greet, love and laugh, share and smile, cry and grieve, and sing and praise.
We are a diverse community and do all of these things. But community doesn’t quite describe who we are—family names it more closely. We are all sons and daughters, sisters and brothers of and in Christ: from the pastors and teachers, to the employed or unemployed, to the homeless or housed, to the volunteers or sleepers. We love God, we love each other, and we love ourselves. Notice (now I’m grinning) there is nothing in there about a salary!
So bear one another’s burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ. You’ll be overwhelmed by what comes back!