Lessons Learned from Tuesdays With Morrie Essay

Published: 2021-07-20 10:00:06
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In “Tuesdays with Morrie,” the main protagonist – Morrie – was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease; a disease which melts away the body, and controls voluntary movement due to the nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. He says that he was not ashamed of dying. Morrie understood that he did not give himself this disease. He does not wail away his life. Instead he chooses to embrace his illness by teaching a former student a valuable life lesson. I also chose to write about shame because it is what I can relate to the most. Of course, I do not have a disease; it is more of a condition.
This condition nobody had except me. When I was starting grade-school I communicated with teachers like normal. When I spoke my teachers knew there was something missing. When I went to school the next day my teacher took me into a special room, the speech lab. I do not remember that much. All I remember is that I was asked to say certain sentences that were written on a black board. I was doing this for about two weeks. My mother took me to the doctor and the same thing happened. They did a series of tests on me to find what my problem was.
We went back and fourth to the doctors office for two to three months. I remember seeing the doctor speaking to my mother. Later that day when we were going home my mother had me saying words I had trouble pronouncing. Those were words with an “R” and an “S” sound, i. e;star, rabbit etc. A couple of months went by and it was back to the doctors. At the age of six, I was diagnosed with dysarthria I still have trouble saying it. Dysarthria is a speech impediment in which speech is slurred and slowed due to the weakness of the tongue. I would say certain words with an extra letter.
For example, I would say ”cheer e leader” instead of cheerleader. I did not know I had this condition. I would be outside playing handball with my friends like a ”normal” six year old. I put quotation marks around normal because that is what I think society teaches children. To set aside those who are different. People categorize others who have disabilities as ”special”. Just because people see that one person is different than they are gives them the right to label them? They say ”oh they are not as smart as me,” so they set them aside.
I was in special education classes up until junior high. This bothered me because I knew that I was like everybody else. I just had a speech problem. I was not in a wheelchair nor did I need any special accommodations. When I would be in the car with my mother we would do speech exercises. For example, she would try to get me to roll my R’s. I tried but I just could not get it right. She just thought that I did not want to do them. The words just would not come out the same. I tried my hardest to get rid of it but it was impossible.
When I had to do oral presentations in school, I would come up with any excuse so I would not have to do them. I felt it was the end of the world. I know it sounds like I am exaggerating, but I honestly felt that way. There were times I chose to single myself out because I did not want to speak. I felt horrible when I got teased because of the way I spoke. I was one of those people who spoke when they had something to say. At times I was curious what I sounded like. I would record myself and play it back. I sounded horrible.
I knew I had a flaw that made me different, but I knew I was not, if that makes sense. I went through speech therapy for twelve years. I was beyond uncomfortable meeting new people. When I did meet new people, I was still very distant. I only made one close friend all throughout junior high. I liked the way she acted towards me. She did not care that I had a speech impediment. We would do everything together, eat lunch everything. I think we remained friends because I felt a sense of relief knowing that she would not judge me. We never lost touch with each other.
I felt like our souls were trying to find each other in friendship, and they did. She still is my closest friend. It took me a very long time to warm up to new people. It still does, but now I try to open up to them more. As I got to high school, nothing changed. I still found it very hard to talk to people. I only spoke to my teachers, not my class-mates. I was going to therapy three times a week. By this time my speech has gotten a lot better. People still had trouble understanding me. However, it was still embarrassing for me to repeat every word I just said.
Everyday when I got home I would practice talking to myself in the mirror. It was so much harder to carry on a conversation with someone else other than me. In my senior year of high school I was becoming more social. I was in between not talking and talking to someone. I decided to experiment with my comfort zone of not talking. It was dreadful walking into the speech room. I did not want anyone to know that I was in therapy. I worked hard to try to perfect my speech. By college I realized that I could not do anything about the way I talk. I stopped caring what people thought of me.
I know I had made tremendous progress, and I was proud of that. Before I was enrolled in college, I was terrified of being judged because of one little imperfection. Consequently, I learned to live with it as Morrie learned to live with his illness. I never thought about certain things until I read this book. Morrie understood that he did not plan his fate. This book made me understand that I should not be ashamed of my speech impediment. ”We’re so wrapped up with egotistical things, career, family, having enough money, meeting the mortgage, getting a new car… ” (Albom 64).
People do not spend much time with family because family members are usually working. Truthfully, people have to work to maintain a stable household. In the midst of all that it is still very important to make time to spend with loved ones. As Morrie loses control of his body he has to depend on people to get him through. As oppressive as it might sound, he has to relinquish that control. Little things such as going to the restroom cannot be completed on his own. ”If you don’t have the support and love and caring and concern that you get from a family, you don’t have much at all” (Albom 91).
Morrie says this because it is better to have a family member there to help you than a friend. Friends come and friends go. They are not going to sit by ones side when they become ill. Morrie had no choice but to surrender to his illness. He had to swallow his pride and let others help him. When a person is accustomed to doing everything themselves, it is hard to accept help. Being independent allows one to figure out how things work. It give one a sense of accomplishment. Morrie has many personality traits that make him very likable. There is the one of not being ashamed of dying.
The idea of living life to the fullest, because one can never predict the end. His comprehension of death is like no one else’s I have ever met or read about. As Morrie says ”Maybe death is the great equalizer, the one thing that can finally make strangers shed a tear for one another” (Albom 55). People are caught up in their well-being. They do not have compassion for their own kind. ”Mitch, it is impossible for the old not to envy the young” (Albom 120). I do not think it was hard for Morrie to watch children play outside. I think he just missed the idea of taking a walk around his neighborhood. ‘Morrie’s love for music was strong even before he got sick, but now it was so intense it brought him to tears” (Albom 124), as Mitch writes.
Listening to music brought memories of him getting up and dancing, and not caring what anybody thought. In conclusion, Tuesdays with Morrie has influenced me in several ways. It changed my attitude on how I approach life. It taught me to forgive myself and others; also to never live with any regrets. Lastly it taught me to gentle and compassionate with myself and those around me. This book gives the reader an insight to keep a peaceful heart and mind.

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