Sunday, May 22, 2011

THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN by Mitch Albom

The back cover: All endings are also beginnings. We just don't know it at the time..."

On his eighty-third birthday, Eddie, a lonely war veteran, 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 hisand then nothing. He awakens in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a lush Garden of Eden but a place where you 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.

It was a beautiful Sunday and I did what I had to do—cleaned the apartment, laundry, and so on—and after that I settled down to finish the rest of the book in the evening. I enjoyed The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom and although not as much as Tuesdays with Morrie I still find it special. It had me crying especially when I reached the third lesson and fourth. I found myself eager to know about the next lesson as I approached the end of one and who Eddie would find in each of them.

Here are some of the passages I liked from the book:

All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair. p.109
[...] because sons will adore their fathers through even the worst behavior. It is how they learn devotion. Before he can devote himself to God or a woman, a boy will devote himself to his father, even foolishly, even beyond explanation. p.111
Parents rarely let go of their children, so children let go of them. They move on. They move away. The moments that used to define thema mother's approval, a father's nodare covered by moments of their own accomplishments. It is not until much later, as the skin sags and the heart weakens, that children understand; their stories, and all their accomplishments, sit atop the stories of their mothers and fathers, stones upon stones, beneath the waters of their lives. p.133 to 134

Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves. p.149

That's because no one is born with anger. And when we die, the soul is freed of it. But now, here, in order to move on, you must understand why you felt the way you did, and why you no longer need to feel it. p. 150

People say they "find" love, as if it were an object hidden by a rock. But love takes many forms, and it is never the same for any man and woman. What people find then is a certain love. And Eddie found a certain love with Marguerite, a grateful love, a deep but quiet love, one that he knew, above all else, was irreplaceable. Once she'd gone, he'd let the days go stale. He put his heart to sleep. p.165

In the same way this unfolds in Eddie's life (or afterlife)—ours, too—I believe work in similar ways: why some die when others live, sacrifices made; essentially, why things happen the way they do. And this brings me to a quote I picked up from another book, which I posted on my Facebook wall earlier today: Everything counts! Everything you do helps or hurts, adds up or takes away.

I would also like to thank my carpool buddy, Scott, for lending me the book.

Related Post: Teaser Tuesdays