Book review: The Five People You Meet In Heaven

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

While attending the mass, once I heard the priest asked, "Who among you wants to go to heaven?" Every one raised their hands, including me. Heaven always sounded good. It implies face to face with God and his angels. It suggests seeing the loved ones we lost and have gone on. But when the priest asked, "Who among you wants to die?" As expected, nobody raised his hand. Who wants to die anyway? But then, of course, how are we going to be in heaven without dying first?

The book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven is one of the novels I've read which is full of reflection and learning. Mitch Albom's own vision of what heaven must look like is quite appealing, and it made me wonder, what if, indeed, that's how heaven is supposed to be?

All lives are intertwined. Eddie, the story's main character, meets the Blue Man at the amusement park where he, too, worked. Eddie didn't know who the Blue Man was, for he was too young when the man worked at Ruby's pier. The man died, on Eddie's account. And so the man told him that all stories are one, but from a different point of view. All lives are intertwined.

Sacrifice. Eddie's Captain when he was at war was the second person Eddie meets in heaven. The Captain told him how sacrifice is a part of our lives, big and small.

Forgive. Eddie went on with his life, hating his father, without knowing the whole story. It was until he meets Ruby, the lady with whom the amusement park was named after. There he learns that no man was born with hate in their hearts, that's why he felt light and free when he went to heaven. Forgiveness, is something that sets the person free.

A lost love is still love. Life must come to an end, but love goes on. Eddie then meets his wife, Marguerite. As he mourned over her death, she explained to him that he didn't jave to suffer upon the loss, for a lost love is still love and powerful.

No life is ever wasted. Eddie died thinking that his life was ever meaningless. But the little girl he meets in heaven told him that, in his maintaining the amusement park rides all his life, he actually dedicated his life in keeping children safe. His job, after all, mattered the most. For the life of every child who goes to the rides is in his hands.

The good side of the bad things are not always obvious. As I read the book, I've come to reflect that my life, though it may feel empty and meaningless at times, may still have a good side. Now it got me think, who are going to be my five people? It must be wonderful to have someone explain to me what my life meant on earth. Though I'd prefer to meet that person, while I am still alive.


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