I’ve just read two very good books by Mitch Albom; Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven. I know these aren’t recent books in the market but they were books I purchased a few years back and chucked them on my shelf because I wanted to do other things like watch more movies or television series. The pages have turned a little yellow with brown spots and I’ve had to wipe the dust from them. I don’t regret picking up books again because I feel like I’ve delved into a character’s world and experience. Now I wish I had more time to do everything – to read especially.
Tuesdays with Morrie made me think about what matters most in life. It’s an autobiographical piece based on Mitch Albom’s professor, Morrie. Morrie is a beautiful soul and just reading about him makes you wish you had met the man. The things he talks about exudes a wisdom that stems from contentment in this world. I especially loved reading about the things Morrie liked to do and how simple he was. Disclaimer for the next sentence: this isn’t a spoiler because it is given that Morrie was going to die. By the time I got to the end, I was crying like a baby because of the way Mitch wrote about Morrie’s death. It made me think about the loss I went through when Suzie passed away. I will share more about it in this blog piece.
The Five People You Meet in Heaven, however, made me think about my life’s purpose and the little incidents that make sense when you look at the bigger picture. It’s a fictional piece inspired by Mitch Albom’s uncle, Eddie. It is one of Mitch’s best works and I like how he perceives heaven. I like how he arranges the chapters such that the books begins with the ending and shares these little moments about the main character, Eddie, and how it relates to the five people he meets in heaven. By the time I reached the fifth person, I was sitting on my living room couch and tearing up. It was a very touching, simple moment filled with innocence.
In this post, I will just be reflecting on the chapter on materialism in Tuesdays with Morrie.
One of the things Morrie talks about is materialism.
“Mitch,” he said, laughing along, “even I don’t know what ‘spiritual development’ really means. But I do know we’re deficient in some way. We are too involved in materialistic things, and they don’t satisfy us. The loving relationships we have, the universe around us, we take these things for granted.” – Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
These particular chapter got me reflecting on my own life. I wouldn’t say I’m very spiritual but I am a practicing Catholic and I do have Catholic guilt once in a while. I used to be very involved in the Church but life demanded more of my time and well, Church wasn’t exactly a place where everyone welcomes you. I’m not here to paint the Catholic church in a good or bad light. At the end of the day, people are people. It doesn’t mean God is any less and it certainly does not mean my faith should be any less. In moments where my faith is tested, I remember when God was there for me and how He saw me through; for me, that is enough.
Back to my point on the quote. Morrie mentions that we are too involved in materialistic things and they don’t satisfy us. I have to agree with him on that. For me personally, in this day and age where social media has become the growing trend, it is hard to break out of it. We always want more likes on that photo we just posted. It could just be an ordinary photo but we are obsessed with popularity. If it’s not about the likes, it’s about making a point to be noticed at least. To put our lives out there; to show off that we’re having or we’ve had a ball of a time. We want to get our hands on the latest gadgets, fashion, etc. We want to climb the career ladder and succeed. We want more money but yet we don’t know how to give a generous percentage of our salary to those who need it more.
For myself, having worked my first full-time job and receiving my first pay – I wanted to use that money for self-development purposes. This year, I picked up Muay Thai. Next year, I hope to pick up Archery; or to even go back to part-time studies to pick up a new degree. Aside from that, I want more clothes because the weight gain did not do any of my old clothes good and I don’t want to always feel like I have nothing to wear to cover the fats. I said I wanted to help the Church or the animals but yet, a small percentage of my money has been donated. The rest were only for myself and my responsibilities. I have all these materialistic things but I do not feel filled. I am not saying that if you donate money, you’ll feel satisfied. You get a good feeling in your heart for any generous act; but if you’re doing these generous acts to always feel good about yourself then the act itself is not purely generous. What I’m trying to say is that I’ve been focusing on the wrong things in life. It’s okay to put some time and money into self-improvement activities/classes, but we also need to put effort in things that matter such as our loved ones.
I am so eager to attend Muay Thai classes every night after work because I want to get better at it faster and I also want to lose that excessive weight as rapidly as possible; but I feel sad when I no longer come home for dinner with my family which has been the tradition since forever. Dinner is not just a time to eat together, but it is when we come together as a family to share about our time or funny encounters. Our dinners can last for hours if the conversations flow and if everyone is in a good mood. But these days, dinner with my family has become so rare.
On the topic of social media – I often feel annoyed looking at people’s things because I just feel everything is the same thing. I feel the lack of adventure whether it is an actual adventure or just something new. I know people are perhaps, just simply documenting their day but it doesn’t affect me because it’s impersonal. It’s distant. I miss the days where friends just met up for a meal and conversations flowed without anyone whipping out their phones to “document” it. It’s great to capture moments but it’s more important to stay in them. I guess this is why I stopped taking too much care of my social media because it doesn’t matter as much as the actual thing/person I am documenting.
This whole secularism/materialism thing is so addictive that even when you’re aware of it, it’s so hard to break out of it. It feels like you’re swimming against current because it’s the way everyone is. I don’t feel pure happiness in my heart and I hate feeling the negativity weighing me down all the time. I want to be free of such heaviness and the solution is simple, but it’s somewhat tough to act on.
I think the only way one can be free is to really be self-sacrificing. When you have nothing left, but yet, you have everything. I hope that I can work towards that slowly. I want my spirit to be as free as Morrie’s.