What a great story. When arriving in heaven, the main character, Eddie, gets to meet five key people whose lives he touched on his life journey. Five people who had a profound impact on his story, who at some point changed the direction of his life and theirs.
He has a conversation with each one and is shown a different point of view on the life events, with some major learning behind the meaning and purpose of his own life. A life he thought was insignificant, even wasted, was in fact valuable, often deeply touching others. It is a reminder that every life has a unique purpose, even though we are so often unaware of the impact we have on other people and circumstances around us.
This story is beautifully written. Mitch Albom writes so creatively, well structured, with many concepts that challenge our thinking, causing the reader to ask themselves all sort of profound questions. It is clever writing, intelligent but not patronising, not “preachy” or offering answers, allowing the reader to discover and ponder truths for themselves.
Mitch writes so visually, painting vivid pictures of each scene, pulling the reader in with the description of each setting. His expression of emotions drags you in, to feel deeply what is being described. Powerful and moving.
This is a great read for adults, but I would also very much recommend it to a young adult audience.
The story shows us that heaven is a place to find peace… peace with the life lived by addressing issues, working through pain and life changing moments, to understand why they happened and to be healed. Forgiveness follows, releasing those who have wronged or been wronged, to be reconciled so as to then be able to move on to live an eternity, at peace… and maybe even have a role in helping others to find their peace when they first arrive in heaven.
It may or may not be theologically correct, but that does not matter – what matters is that this story highlights to process of coming to terms with life, and being put right before being able to fully move on into a life in eternity. It is a story of huge hope.
In the case of the fifth person Eddie meets, he shows that we may get the chance to face the consequences of our actions, even if we don’t know about them at the time. A very sobering thought, but the forgiveness received, that has to follow, is so totally cleansing and healing.
In this story, as in life, many bad things happen as well as good. The Bible verse that came to mind whilst reading it is Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV) Good and bad things happen, but in all things God can work His good from them.
The Five People You Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom, is available here.