The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch is a book that took me one evening to read. I laughed and cried through the whole book. It’s small and easy to read. This man was diagnosed with terminal cancer in his 40’s. He had 3 small children at the time and was married “to the woman of my dreams”. He was asked to give a speech to the students at Carnegie Mellon as part of a lecture series. This university has a series of lectures each year presented by faculty members. They are asked to consider what they would want to impart to the students if this was their “last lecture”. Randy was asked to be a part of this series of lectures. He had already been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer but was optimistic about the outcome. Before he actually gave the lecture, he received news that he only had a few months left to live. He decided to go ahead and proceed with the lecture. He knew everyone would understand if he canceled, but he said he wanted to put a message in a bottle for his three young children that would one day wash upon the shore. They were too young at the time to understand all he wanted to teach them, but through this lecture, he could reach out to them as they grew older. He lectured about the joy of life and how much he appreciated living, even though he had so little left of his own. He says, “I talked about honesty, integrity, gratitude, and other things I hold dear. And I tried very hard not to be boring.”
His cancer is not what made this book worth reading. It would have been a great book without his illness shadowing every page. His cancer is what made him write it.
It is inspiring to read about someone who enjoyed life to the very end. I think I am a better person for having read this book. I want to be more than I am now. I want to live more in the moment and be absorbed by NOW. I want to let go of worry and fear of the future.
Matthew 5:25-34 tells us not to worry. Look at the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. They don’t worry. God clothes them in more splendor than he clothed Solomon. So if God cares about the lilies that are here today and tomorrow thrown into the fire, how much more does he care about you? Don’t worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Amy’s paraphrase.)
When I finished this book, I had an urge to run out, buy a case full of these books, and pass them out to everyone I knew. However, Hastings only had three left. I bought them all. I gave 2 of them to friends who have January birthdays, and put one beside my bed for reference. I gave Barrett his book back.
Amazon probably still has some or you can call me. You can borrow mine.