“The Five People You Meet in Heaven” is a beautiful and easy to read book which tells the story of "Eddie Maintenance" - an old maintenance man at Ruby Park.
In his death Eddie meets five different people that somehow, someway were connected to him and they make him go back in time. Each person shows him glimpses and brings memories of past moments in his life and convey to the reader a lesson, message and overwhelming feeling of impact.
First Person: Blue Man
Connection. We affect each person we meet; encounter or even that passes our way for no matter how short a period of time. Many times we change the entire course of history in someone's life more without ever finding out how great the impact we have caused - be it good or bad.
“That there are no random acts. That we are all connected. That you can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind.”
"In heaven, there is no judgment, but rather an opportunity to examine our lives-which we touched, the choices we made, and the consequences of those choices."
Sacrifice. Life is all about sacrifices. God knows how sometimes a personal sacrifice needs to be made for the greater good. One of the most beautiful and touching things in life are those daily sacrifices that are done for others - be they big or small.
"You didn’t get it. Sacrifice is a part of life. It’s supposed to be. It’s not something to regret. It’s something to aspire to. Little sacrifices. Big sacrifices. A mother works so her son can go to school. A daughter moves home to take care of her sick father...”
“When people stop sacrificing for one another; they lose what keeps them human."
“That’s the thing. Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you’re not really losing it. You’re just passing it on to someone else.”
Forgiveness. Tears welled up in my eyes as I read this chapter. It explains the importance of forgiveness. When we forgive we are set free, we are then ready to continue on with our lives - grudges and bitterness only eat up our insides and the one who is being most affected by wanting to hold on to the past is none other than ourselves. Forgiveness is something everyone should do - be it be it once in a lifetime or all throughout your life.
“Learn this from me. 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."
Love. Of course this book wouldn't be complete without this lesson. Yes, it’s one of the largest, hardest and most polemic topics that have been and ever will be. Despite their conflicts, hardships, moments of tension, disagreements and even broken dreams love is able to override all that and prove it's true strength. So much that even after death there it remains: solid, strong and the same. Love also has many forms. We never stop loving someone we have truly loved, the heat of the love that was held and shared will always be there - be it a small spark or a burning fire. Love is the one thing that is immortal - not a relationship or marriage but yes, its essence.
“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. You nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it."
"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. "
"Love like rain, can nourish from above, drenching couples with soaking joy. But sometimes, under the angry heat of life, love dries on the surface and must nourish from below, tending to its roots, keeping itself alive."
"Every life has one true love snapshot."
Fifth Person: Tala
Self-Acceptance. Tala is the fifth and last person Eddie meets in Heaven. She is the little girl from the Philippines that he unknowingly kills. She helps him forgive himself and shows him all the good he did throughout his life helping others and keeping other children safe by working so many years as the maintenance man in Ruby Park. The story ends with Eddie going to a beautiful new Ruby Park surrounded by all the many people he "saved" during his life, enjoying the ferry wheel with his wife.
"This is the greatest gift God can give you: to understand what happened in your life. To have it explained. It is the peace you have been searching for."
"Heaven can be found in the most unlikely corners."
"All endings are also beginnings. We just don't know it at the time."
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