This is a book review and my personal insights in the book the Five People You Meet in Heaven. I was moved by reading the book “The Five People You Meet in Heaven.” Even though it is written as a novel, Mitch Albom describes heaven in a way I have read about in several accounts of Near Death Experiences (NDE). There are a number of points which I found very interesting in Mr. Albom’s observations.
In the book, Eddie, the main character is learning 5 lessons by meeting 5 people after he dies. By meeting each of these people: the blue man, the captain, Ruby the old woman, Marguerite his wife, and finally Tala, a little Pilipino girl, he is free to move to the higher realms of heaven because he understood more about each of their roles in his life.
"You see, death is not the grave as many people think. It is another phenomenized form of life."~ Edgar Cayce (1877-1945), American Psychic and Healer
Here are the five lessons, Eddie learns in Heaven:
1st - God created us as unique individuals. That means that we are very important to HIM. Even though some children are unwanted by their parents, nobody’s life is a mistake. Once God gives us an eternal spirit (at birth) we are reflecting His Image and His spirit dwells within us.
“No life is a waste,” said the blue man. “The only time we waste is the time we spend thinking we are alone.”
2nd - We are all here on earth to learn and grow. Some of the lessons are painful and lead us through sacrifice and/or physical suffering but they are nothing compared to the agony of loneliness, remorse, and resentment we would feel in the afterlife.
“I got to keep my promise. I didn’t leave you behind.” “Sacrifice,” the captain said. “You made one. I made one. We all make them. Sacrifice is part of life.”
3rd - To fulfill the lesson on Love it helps to train ourselves in forgiveness. In hearing of Eddie’s dad’s life’s experiences, Eddie has a new view on his dad. When we take a higher perspective on our life, we can let go of anger, bitterness, neglect, revenge, and eventually forgive the other people involved, including ourselves. The other people don’t have to forgive us, even though it helps; the important thing is that we release the negative emotions.
Ruby stepped toward him. “Edward,” she said softly. It was the first time she had called him by his name. “Learn this from me. Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from the inside. We think 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.”
4th - The greatest assignment for us is to learn to love. We experience about love in different stages: as a child we discover filial love; as a youth we understand about brother/sister love which later grows into conjugal love between husband and wife; and finally we become skilled in unconditional or parental love.
Love is never lost. Experiences are never lost. It is like energy, energy is never lost either. It can be transformed into another appearance like light into heat or solid into liquid. Love has many different facets, too, and we store it in form of memories. See also my blog on the Family is the Basic Unit for the Kingdom of Heaven.
“Lost love is still love, Eddie. It takes a different form, that’s all. “Life has to end,” Marguerite said. “Love doesn’t.”
5th – None of us lives an ordinary life. We are all interconnected and affecting each other in so many ways. In whatever task we choose or just follow by default, we can influence other people’s lives.
“Children,” Tala said. “You keep them safe. You make good for me.”
In the spirit of Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol,” and the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” written by Philip Van Doren Stern, this book is a wonderful reminder that how precious life is and how every day reveals new examples of learning and making it right. When we follow our heart, every moment is special and can make a difference for a life time and beyond.