Sunday, 3 June 2007

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

I spent my Friday night up to the wee hours of the morning to finish this book - “The Five People You Meet in Heaven”. This was the first time I read Mitch Albom’s book. So, basically, I did not know what to expect from the story.

It turned to be a very interesting experience reading the book. Getting used to motivation books that laid out the rules or values and explained them with stories, the stories presented flowed ever so nicely, bringing out a very compelling and touching story, but without being too emotional. The values are embedded inside this story and it is up to one to interpret the meaning.

The story is about Eddie, a very kind person, who was killed in a tragic accident and went to heaven. There, he learnt that he must first encounter five different persons from whom he would learn something about the meaning of his life.

It was a remarkably memorable story. I am still as intrigued as ever on trying to replay back the 5 people in the heaven. What are their purpose in making one understand his life.

Well, here are the few values that I want to remember from the story:

  • Balance in life.

    Just as in everyday, people die and people being born. This is the balance in life. Your colleague got sicked but you were as healthy as ever. Your friend won a lottery but you accidentally dropped our wallets yesterday and lost few hundred bucks.

    Most of you eat a good meal everyday and have some leftover. In fact, I ate a buffet lunch at a hotel yesterday and there were plenty of food to choose from. In the contrary, somewhere in Africa, people hope they have some leftover food to eat, far from being able to choose what they eat.

    Whatever we are having now, do remember someone might have lost it. This is the balance in life. A large object dropped from nowhere and hit a spot where you just left seconds ago and fatally hit on a boy. The boy died so that you got to live.

    So, on each day you are living and enjoying things, do be grateful. Also try to give out as much as possible, because whatever fortune you are getting , you are taking away from others .

  • Sacrifices

    In your life, there are a lot of people who have sacrificed for you to make you what you are today. Your parents put effort day and night to bring you up to be a good person. Your friend sacrifices times and financial fortune to help you.

    Even strangers may make small sacrifice for you. Those who waited for you at the lift, those who cleaned up the garbage you littered mindlessly, those who ran after you to return you the items you have dropped, waiters or waitresses that waited on your table. Sometimes, these are part of their jobs and they may be obliged to do it. But also, do believe they also put their heart to it and choose to do it for you and to make this world a better living place.

    Sometimes, the sacrifices can be very big, like someone dying for you. You might not realize it, but everyday, there may be people dying for you. For e.g., a rapist and murdered victim which the tragedy warned you to be more careful and also lead to the criminal to be caught so he could do no harm to other women.

    A friend’s parent passed away and reminded you to treat your own parents better while they are still with you.

    Make sacrifice for others if you can. Do small chores for others, wait for others, buy lunches for your friend, make donations, support community programs, and the list goes on.

  • Give others something to believe, make promises and keep them

    It means a lot of the people if you tell them you will take care of them or you will help them. It give them strength and faith to believe in hope. In the story, a war captain promised to his soldiers he would leave no one behind. It is a tremendous promise, one that the captain did not know if he really could do it. But he knew he need his soldiers to know that so that they have the strengh and courage to fight the battle! And he did everything , anything to keep to his promise and he did it successfully.

    So, make promises and try as hard as possible to keep to them. If bad things happened and you have broken your promises, people will understand if you have try your best.

    On the contrary, if you break your promise simply because you failed to do something you can do or did something you should not because of lack of control or discipline, it is better for you to evaluate yourself and not to make the promises.

  • Forgiveness
    Learning to forgive is a very beautiful act. But I must say, it is somethings that are very hard to do. Just like when I debate on this on my previous post about whether Lucifer should be forgiven?

    Some people do not forgive even until their last breathe. If we can forgive as early as possible, I daresay, it may be a better experience. To let go of grouses and blames and move on with life will make great difference. Anger is poison. The forgiveness may not save the relationship or the trust, but it make you not angry at things, able to accept the fact, and move on.

    If your partner cheated on you, dump him, of course, but try to forgive him as well. Let go of your anger. Do not ask why he did that to you. Accept that. You will be able to move on happily with your life, able to face him and even become friends with him. Sometimes later, you will find a better guy and you actually feel thankful that your ex has cheated on you. If not, you will never be able to experience true love.

    God have things in store for you. Sometimes, it is a better lesson to learn from mistakes. To feel the pain first for you to treasure the bliss much better. Believe that, and forgive people who have hurt you so that you will find a better things in life - better partner, better boss, better love.

    On the other hand, if it is your parents or family who hurt you, no matter how bad you feel, do try to carry out your duty as a daughter/son/sister/brother/parent until your last breathe. Family is a treasure. Do not give up so easily.

  • Love of your life.

    When you have found true love, nothing matter more, not even life and death. True love will never die.
    There will be arguments, worries, insecurities, jealousy - impediments that will make you question your love. But never waver and never stop loving!

  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
    If you want to have your children to yell at you, yell at your parents!
    If you want to be micro-managed by your manager, micro-manage your staffs.
    If you want your daughter to be harrassed by a jerk, be a jerk yourself and harrass other girls.

    It is as simple as that. What goes around comes around. But most often that not, you find people who break that rules. I am guilty myself.

  • Other side of the stories
    Every story you know, there are other side of story that you do not know. Do not assume you know all the things and treat people at face value. Do not jump to conclusions. Try to be empathy. Listen and try to understand.

  • Find meaning in your life and value yourself

    In the story, Eddie felt that he has not achieved anything in his life. He worked as a mere maintenance guy in a small carnival. His dream to become an engineer was dashed by war injuries and the responsibilities that befell him at the time of his father's final illness and death. His war experiences and leg injury darkened his view of life and sapped it of joy.
    But in the end, he realized that his daily hum-drum, tedious daily routine had in fact fulfilled his life's intended purpose of keeping workplace's rides safe, and a source of joy, for generations of children.

    Find meaning in whatever you are doing and DO NO EVIL (my most favourite motto from Google)! This is not apparent in the story but Eddie got to go to the heaven because he is a good guy to start with.

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