When you’re in bed, you’re dead.

by Richard Mcallister

My friend gave me a book recently.

The whole book is incredible, but the one thing that sticks in my mind still is the aphorism ‘When you’re in bed, you’re dead’. I spend an inordinate amount of time in my bed, and it irks me. Maybe it’s Manchester’s beautiful weather….or maybe I’m a lazy ass student, or maybe studying Nietzsche’s crisis of nihilism has left me with naught but bed and facebook and cigarettes to cling to. Whichever reason it is, if any, the book aforementioned has jolted me from this apathetic pit of screen glare.

The book is titled ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ and I would recommend it to every single person whether you’re in bed and not quite dead or an active machine of social frenzy. It is the true story of a man called Morrie, a former lecturer struck with the disease called ALS (Amyotrophic  lateral sclerosis or motor neurone disease) and how he spends his last months on earth up until the moment of his death and beyond. The disease is a horrific one, slowly causing the loss of all movement and bodily function, until you have to be carried like a child, fed like a child and use the toilet like a child. One might think that in the face of all this, there could be no joy, but Morrie found it.

I know it sounds pretty grim, but I cannot express the feelings of joy and hope and so on and so forth, that filled me by the time I had turned the last page. Morrie didn’t fear dying, because he was satisfied; Satisfied with the friends he had made, the people he had loved and the experiences that he had experienced. He refused to be in bed, because to him that was surrender and death.

But I take it to mean not just being in bed literally, but making your life into one big apathetic bed, in which you wallow, you stagnate and refuse to change or grow or learn, in which comfort and routine is paramount regardless of  the cost both spiritually and mentally. Morrie refused this offer of comfort and material lust and he was happy when he died, he had said goodbye to all the people he wished, he had said all he needed to say, taught all of the lessons he could. He was happy.

But anyway yeah, just read it. If I haven’t convinced you, then just know I cried, a lot.

“So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is 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.” – Morrie Schwartz 

Also thank you Paul,