Can you name the top five influential people in your life?
I would choose my mom. My dad. Jeff. Morgan, Jenna. And Kali. (Okay, six.)
But those we would pick, may or may not be who God would pick. The most influential ones may include some we never even met...
No story sits by itself. Sometimes stories meet at corners and sometimes they cover one another completely, like stones beneath a river.
Eddie, an old amusement park maintenance worker, dies. He subsequently meets five people in heaven, one at a time, each carrying a piece of his story.
The premise is intriguing. But the theology is excrutiating.
“There are five people you meet in heaven,” the Blue Man suddenly said. “Each of us was in your life for a reason. You may not have known the reason at the time, and that is what heaven is for. For understanding your life on earth.”
Um, I don’t think so. Heaven’s purpose is not so you can make sense of your past. It’s about Him, and you getting to live fully at last in the complete presence of the One you adore for all eternity.
But, if you can lay aside the fictional theology, read this book anyway.
And in that line was a whiskered old man…who waited…to share his part of the secret of heaven: that each affects the other and the other affects the next, and the world is full of stories, but the stories are all one.
Mitch Albom writes with insight. Sometimes pleasurably, sometimes painfully. We need both.
* The manager called me the ‘best freak’ in his stable, and, sad as it sounds, I took pride in that. When you are an outcast, even a tossed stone can be cherished.
* “Sacrifice,” the Captain said. “You made one. I made one. We all make them. But you were angry over yours. You kept thinking about what you lost. You didn’t get it. Sacrifice is a part of life. It’s supposed to be. It’s not something to regret. It’s something to aspire to.”
* All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.
In the end, this book is just a story. But because it’s a story with enough truth in it to hit home, I cried near the end. When I think of how my baby Kali influenced my life, a child who only breathed air for an hour, I understand:
* “And I lost everything. I lost the only woman I ever loved.”
She took his hands. “No, you didn’t. I was right here. And you loved me anyway. Lost love is still love, Eddie. It takes a different form, that’s all. You can’t see their smile or bring them food or tousle their hair or move them around a dance floor. But when those senses weaken, another heightens. Memory. Memory becomes your partner. You nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it.
“Life has to end,” she said. “Love doesn’t.”
Love doesn’t end. Real life doesn’t either. That is heaven. I long to live with Love there. And share it with far more than five other people.
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
1 John 4:16