On October 6, 2016, I had the pleasure of hearing Mitch Albom speak at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. He presented a lecture titled “Giving is Living” and spoke about the significance of giving back to others. His lecture was passionate, raw, authentic and unforgettable.
A Little About Mitch
Mitch Albom is a man of many trades; he is a best selling author, a sports journalist and broadcaster, and even a playwright and screenwriter. He is best known for the universally adored book, Tuesdays with Morrie. Tuesdays with Morrie is embedded in school systems everywhere and the themes of love, death, acceptance, friendship, and forgiving makes the story a modern-day classic. He has also written Five People You Meet In Heaven, For One More Day, Have A Little Faith, and The Time Keeper. His two most recent books are First Phone Call From Heaven and Magic Strings of Frankie Presto.
Aside from the big heart Mitch displays in all of his books, his selflessness and compassion is present in his personal life.
Mitch Albom founded S.A.Y. Detroit (Super All Year) which is a charity that provides the basic human necessities so many people lack. Food, shelter, medical attention, and education is provided to those in need
Outside of the United States, he founded The Have Faith Haiti Mission. The Have Faith Haiti Mission provides shelter, food, education, and medical treatment to children who are abandoned. Giving children love, care, and security allows them to develop and grow.
The Tale I'll Never Forget
When I first read Tuesdays with Morrie, I could not get over the story. I was addicted; read through the book within a week. Every chapter was a new lesson, a new enlightenment. Entertainment and education was officially entwined and I became HOOKED with Albom’s work. The story of Morrie felt like my own personal reality, he was a friend of mine I never met and I wept for him. Even the thought of Morrie brings sorrow and the sense of missing him - yet I never met him!
Counting Down The Days
Before I moved into my new school, I read online Mitch was coming to speak and I was THRILLED. I bought my ticket the first day I could.
During his lecture, I was seeking the enlightenment of what is Albom’s work. I wanted to learn more on how to have a fulfilling and meaningful life. I was even seeking closure and further information about Morrie. Albom delivered; giving background on how he met Morrie and the smaller details that made him and Morrie’s friendship so strong and unique.
Nerdy me, of course, brought a journal to note the points Mitch made that emotionally moved me. I want to share some with you.
One of the points that stuck with me was Mitch’s comment on Giving is Living. He stated that when a plane is going down, passengers contact their loved ones and say “I love you”. They’re giving them their love. They don’t ask for anything in return. Doing good for others is what makes us happy and fulfilled.
Mitch told a heartbreaking and beautiful story about the orphanage in Haiti he started. Parents or care givers who cannot take care of their children bring them there. While the child is meeting the other children, the parents or care giver quietly slips off while the child is occupied. When the child looks frantically around for the person, the other children comfort them and welcome them. The visualization of one child putting an arm around another to comfort them in a painful occurrence they have all dealt with moved me.
Mitch also told the story of Chica, an orphan from Haiti. After being unable to receive the proper medical care in Haiti, Mitch took her back to the United States. The love and compassion described and the bond presented moved the audience to tears. I cannot replicate Mitch's story but I will never forget it.
“Albom connects intellect with emotion” - Rev Dr. Robert Lawrence
(why you should read his work)
“The world cannot cater to one person” - Mitch
“When you get to where I am, and you will, these won't matter” - Morrie
(Morrie to Mitch on materialistic lifestyles)
Mitch: “How do you keep from envying youth?”
Morrie: “Age isn’t a competition. Inside me is every age I’ve ever been”
Morrie: “You should be envious of me, I’ve got 40 years on you”
"You have a voice. You have to use it. You have a voice, do something”
Morrie to Mitch
“I’ll make it to you. You talk, I’ll listen” - Morrie
“Death ends a life, not a relationship” - Mitch
“One thing you have is that voice. It makes you, you” - Morrie
“Follow your heart. It will never leave you astray” - Morrie
The Night Ended, but the Impact Lasts
The night ended, the audience moved to tears, and with sore feet, I patiently waited in line to meet Mitch. I had mere seconds with him but his kindness and sense of welcoming was unforgettable. I was so glad that he was as excited to meet his fans as we were to meet him. He took the time to meet every person, even when the line continued to grow. He later responded to my Instagram photo and thanked me for coming to hear him speak.
Mitch Albom has been inspiring me since I first read his work and attending a lecture and meeting my inspiration was one of the best nights of my life.
Thank you Mitch for continuing to move people and inspire us all. Thank you University of Massachusetts Dartmouth for hosting this lecture.
After the lecture, I joined Food Not Bombs Providence. I am now pursuing helping to fight hunger in areas with issues of homelessness and hunger.
To purchase books, donate to his organization, or to learn more
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