During lockdown, I read the book Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom and was blown away by how inspiring and emotional it was. I knew straight away that I wanted to read more of Albom’s books, and so that’s how I stumbled upon The Five People You Meet in Heaven.
What I love about Mitch Albom’s writing is that, although it’s very simple, it encourages a lot of inner reflection. I find myself viewing my life through a different lens and finding meaning I didn’t realise was there. It keeps me philosophising and thinking and feeling in new ways, and that’s one of my favourite things to do.
The Five People You Meet in Heaven was no exception. Set in the afterlife of Eddie, an eighty three year old war veteran, his seemingly unimportant life is explained by five people who were in it, from loved ones to strangers, each one unravelling a deeper meaning. Every person he meets in heaven has a lesson to teach him.
I think this book, similarly to Tuesdays with Morrie, has endless amounts of potential to teach people how to find their place in the world. It touches on the very real notion that sometimes, as humans, we feel like we are just living every day the same. We become consumed by habits and mistakes and emotions, amongst the good of course, but sometimes we reflect and wonder how much impact we are really having on the world.
For me, the overarching message of this book was that everyone has an impactful life, whether they believe it or not. Within the book, Eddie is a man who feels lost in life; he believes he wasted his time working his father’s old job and could have made something better of himself, but it is only once he is in heaven that he realises he impacted the world in ways he had never even considered. The children would not be safe and happy if he had not fixed the fairground rides. His wife wouldn’t be a wife without him. His life was more than just his life. He was part of everybody’s life who he came into contact with.
The book is asking us to find those impactful moments in our own life, to dig deep and really understand where we’re making a difference. We must find our meaning before it’s too late, before we haven’t fully appreciated the mark we’ve left on the world, and the marks others have left for us.
What are the Five Lessons in The Five People You Meet in Heaven?
As previously mentioned, Eddie meets five people during his time in heaven, and I thought it would be interesting to compile all five lessons he learnt, alongside my favourite quotes from the section.
“No life is a waste,” the Blue Man said. “The only time we waste is the time we spend thinking we are alone.”
Everything happens for a reason. Nothing and no one is unimportant because everything filters into a meaning, even if it is incomprehensible.
“Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you’re not really losing it. You’re just passing it on to someone else.”
Sacrifices are inevitable. They are part of life. They aren’t always about losing. Sometimes they are about gaining in a different sort of way, but they should never be about regret.
“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.”
Forgiveness is important – not just for the other person, but for ourselves. Revenge does nothing but fuel the anger inside of us. Forgiveness is what lets the pain go.
“Lost love is still love, Eddie. It takes a different form, that’s all. You can’t see their smile or bring them food or tousle their hair or move them around a dance floor. But when those senses weaken, another heightens. Memory. Memory becomes your partner. Your nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it.
Life has to end. Love doesn’t.”
The power of love, beyond the immediacy of physical life. It doesn’t falter with distance or death. It reignites with memories.
“The secret of heaven: that each affects the the other and the other affects the next, and the world is full of stories, but the stories are all one.”
(My favourite quote of the book!)
Every life is purposeful, meaningful and impactful. We live in a world where lives coalesce – we can’t help it. We share our stories in more ways than we could ever know.
Have you read The Five People You Meet in Heaven?
Or are you inspired by any of the quotes I’ve shared?
Let me know in the comments below!
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