During the holy mass, the priest asked, “Who among you wants to go to heaven?” Everyone raised their hands, including me. Heaven sounds good. It implies a face-to-face encounter with God. It suggests seeing the loved ones we lost and have gone on. Pain can no longer be felt. It’s the safest place there is, being God’s kingdom.
Then the priest asked, “Who among you wants to die?”
As expected, nobody raised his hand. Who wants to die anyway? Life is exciting and glorious. But then, of course, how are we going to be in heaven without dying first?
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 the Ruby’s Pier. Eddie had no idea that the Blue Man died on his account. And so the man told him that all stories are one but from a different point of view. All lives are intertwined.
Sacrifice. When he was at war, Eddie’s captain was the second person he 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 whom the amusement park was named after. There he learns that no man was born with hate in his heart, that’s why he felt light and free when he went to heaven. Forgiveness sets a person free.
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 have to suffer from the loss, for lost love is still love and even powerful.
No life is ever wasted. Eddie died thinking that his life didn’t have its meaning. But the little girl he met in heaven told him that, as he worked to maintain the amusement park rides all his life, he actually dedicated his life to keeping children safe. His job, after all, mattered the most. The life of every child who goes on the rides is in his hands. It’s one of the most beautiful meanings of existence, if I may say so myself.
The good side of the bad things is not always obvious. As I read the book, I’ve come to think about my life too, that though it may feel empty and meaningless at times, it still has a good side.
Now it got me thinking, 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 these people, while I am still alive.