Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Five People You Meet In Heaven

"Eddie is a grizzled war veteran who feels trapped in a meaningless life of fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. As the park has changed over the years -- from the Loop-the-Loop to the Pipeline Plunge -- so, too, has Eddie changed, from optimistic youth to embittered old age. His days are a dull routine of work, loneliness, and regret.
Then, on his 83rd birthday, Eddie dies in a tragic accident, trying to save a little girl from a falling cart. With his final breath, he feels two small hands in his -- and then nothing. He awakens in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a lush Garden of Eden, but a place where your earthly life is explained to you by five people who were in it. These people may have been loved ones or distant strangers. Yet each of them changed your path forever.

One by one, Eddie's five people illuminate the unseen connections of his earthly life. As the story builds to its stunning conclusion, Eddie desperately seeks redemption in the still-unknown last act of his life: Was it a heroic success or a devastating failure? The answer, which comes from the most unlikely of sources, is as inspirational as a glimpse of heaven itself." - Mitch Albom

I never, ever want to look back on my life and think I wasted my time or talents. I want to look back and be proud of the things I accomplished. Even if said accomplishments are not important to others, I want that satisfying feeling that only I can feel; the one that speaks to my spirit and says, "Good Job."

In the book, Eddie died before doing anything he deemed important with his life. With quotes from the book that follow, it's clear that Eddie fell into the same trap we all fall into at some point in our lives. The one that causes us to get comfortable and never push ourselves out of our cozy warm box.

"He did what we all do. He went about his dull routine as if all the 
days in the world were still to come."

"I was sad because I didn't do anything with my life. I was nothing. 
I accomplished nothing. I was lost."

"One thing led to another. Years passed. I never left. I never 
lived nowhere else. Never made any real money."

"You know how it is- you get used to something, 
people rely on you, one day you wake up and you 
can't tell Tuesday from Thursday. You're doing the same boring stuff..."

With each person Eddie meets in Heaven, a series of lessons are learned. There is so much to be taken away from this book. In addition to the actual lessons that the five people teach Eddie, below are a few lessons I took away from the meetings with each person:

1. You never know how the other person's life is changed or altered after your encounter with them.

2. You never know what some one's intent is when they hurt you. They could have inflicted pain (emotional or physical) to prevent something far worse from happening to you.

3. We constantly hear people say loyalty is important and a must. But loyalty can lead to your death. Think about it, people die for being loyal to such things as their religion, their government, etc.

Harboring hatred toward another person harms you, instead of them. "...hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves."

4. When someone you love dies, the love you had for them (while they were alive) doesn't die or change. When that person is gone, your memories of them intensify. And that's how we are able to go on.

5. After meeting all five of the people, Eddie learns that his life actually did have a purpose. His job at the pier was more than what he actually thought it was. It was his work as a maintenance man that prevented the possible deaths of many park-goers. This is an important realization because often times we compare our lives to that of others, and think we aren't doing anything nearly as important as the next person. Let Eddie's life be an example to you. Even though, on the surface, his job seemed so minimal and unimportant, his job was very necessary. Though his job went unnoticed by many, his work was important.

This is definitely a book to add to your home library.

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