I just finished the book The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. It was recommended to me by someone, I can't remember who, and I have to say that I really didn't like it. I really enjoyed Tuesdays with Morrie and had high hopes for this one.
This book did serve as a nice break from Paradise Lost and 1984 but, I don't think I would recommend it to anyone else.
The style of writing was fine. It was engaging and I began to care about the character. I never fully made it to being involved in the story, it was too irritating. I really only finished the book to find out what happened to the little girl from the beginning of the story. What does that say about the story as a whole?
I find myself irritated with the story because the premise bothers me. It states that you meet five people in heaven who are supposed to explain your life to you and help you make sense of it.
Eddie is the main character who he dies at the beginning of the book and then it alternates between memories and what is happening in his corner of heaven. After he dies, we are introduced to a character that knew Eddie as a kid. This person explains an event that happened in Eddie's childhood and helps him to understand part of his life. This person tells Eddie that he will meet five people who will help him understand the meaning of his life and then it will be his turn to wait for someone to start the process all over again.
The different people Eddie 'meets' were interesting choices and drove the point home that we are all connected even if we don't realize it. Things that happen before we are born can help to shape our lives. Point taken.
However, I don't fancy a Heaven where I have someone else explain the meaning of my life to me other than God himself. I would rather hear it from the One who gave me this life and the One who called me home than any one in my life here on earth. Now maybe this has me so riled up, and I am, because there are people that I would NOT want to hear from and have no desire to 'understand' why things happened the way they did. I don't want to know how their point of view and I don't want to listen to them dissecting my life. I know that we are connected in ways that we will never fully realize until we see things clearly and in the light of eternity, I just don't agree with this little story about how we will come to realize it in the 'after life'.
I know, I know it is only a story. It is not meant to be taken literally. It has been pointed out to me that it is just a fiction book written to be read for enjoyment. Yeah, I got that. It's just that people read these books and assume that the author has some kind of knowledge on the topic that they don't have, so they believe it. Trust me, I have seen it before. People tend to believe the things they read.
Would you want to die and then 'wake-up' in heaven only to have to go through these interviews with people from your life, never seeing Jesus? Never laying eyes on your Creator? Never having Him give you the meaning of your life? I don't want anyone else's perspective on what happened in my life, I want His. I want Him to comfort me and show how things worked together for my good. I want Him to celebrate with me the things I got right. I wouldn't mind if the other people that were involved in my life were there, so long as the One holding my hand on the journey, was Jesus.
I think that too often we rely on people to give us the meaning and 'wherefores' and 'whys' in our lives. We look to another fallible person to give us answers to questions that they can't even answer for themselves. They can give us their perspective that is jaded by their experiences and emotions; but that is all they can give. They cannot give us the eternal perspective that we are craving.
We want to know that our lives matter. We can have some confirmation that our lives are touching other lives for the good or bad, but we will never know the extent of it this side of Heaven. The only One who sees the beginning from the end is the only One who can answer our questions. Why in the world would we want to go to Heaven and never talk with our maker?
I don't understand how this book is not more controversial. It surmises that Heaven is really about us and what we are feeling about our lives. It has the audacity to say that it matters more that we understand the significance of our lives and that we get that significance from other people and not from God; than God and who He is and what He has done for us and through us.
After I die, I won't be looking for any of you guys. No offense, really. I am just not going to be itching to hear what ya'll have to say about my life. I will want to see you and spend time with you, for sure, I just want to see and talk with Someone else first.
Just my thoughts on this book and now I can let it go. I think!