Many people believe that life goes by fast, often times, too fast. Throughout the average seventy years of life, one wonders over and over what their purpose is on the Earth and how they could make the planet better. Mitch Albom portrays Eddie in the same way through his book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven. During the late years of his life, Eddie sees no purpose in his job at the pier. After all, he had never chosen the lifestyle, it was expected of him as his father became ill. Eddie does not learn what his purpose is until his journey after his death.
By reading, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, one can learn that communities are intertwined, life doesn’t last forever, forgiveness is always possible, and that we don’t always see the bigger perspective. The first lesson a reader can learn is that all citizens in a community are intertwined in some aspect. Eddie learns this lesson from the first person he meets, the blue man from the freak show at Ruby Pier. Eddie learns from the blue man that he was the main factor in the blue man’s death. One year on his birthday, Eddie was playing with a new baseball with his brother outside.
The ball went into the street and Eddie chased it into the street to get it, not realizing the car coming towards him. The blue man was in the car which caused him to eventually lose control of the car and crash since his heart was too weak to handle the surprise. This illustrates that careless actions can create tragedy within a community. Eddie was not aware of the oncoming car, which led to death. In the same way that careless actions can cause tragedy, thoughtful actions can cause a community to become better.
Just one person can make a change that would have multiple benefits for the people around them. A real world example of this is a supreme court judge that is the deciding factor in a case that could change a whole country for good. If everyone is thoughtful of their actions, everyone would be benefitted. The fact that life doesn’t last forever is the next lesson a reader can learn. In many cases, life can end in an instant. Life ends for Eddie so quickly that he doesn’t remember if he saved the little girl he sacrificed his life for.
This is a painful reminder that death is real and that it could happen to anyone at anytime. We need to remind ourselves daily to live in the years that we are given. Also, we need to enjoy the little moments since those are the ones that we’re going to remember most. As Eddie is in heaven, he remembers dancing with his wife, going to the pier with his family, and many other small moments that remind him of the life he once cherished. By living to the maximum in our years, we can be better prepared for when the day does come.
One of the hardest lessons for Eddie and us to learn is that forgiveness is always possible. Throughout the first part of the book, Eddie is resentful towards his father who mistreated him as he was growing up. Ruby, the third person he meets, makes him realize that his father was doing all he could do for his family. After he learns this and immediately goes to his father to ask for forgiveness. After pleading to him, Eddie’s father forgives him. If we ask for forgiveness, we can often live a life free of grudges.
The last lesson a reader can learn is that one doesn’t always see the bigger perspective. We may be uncertain of what the outcome will be. However, we can be certain that everything happens for a reason. By the end of it, we eventually see what our actions led to and it all makes since. The fifth person Eddie meets, Tala, makes him realize what his purpose was on Earth. Because Eddie stayed at the pier, fixing the rides from day to day, no one had ever been killed or injured on a ride since he started working there.
Eddie’s dull day to day routines had saved multiple people without him ever realizing it. After we figure out what the big picture is, we realize that all of our actions and sacrifices are worth it. Through his book, Mitch Albom makes Eddie easily relatable to, making his lessons leave an impact on everyone who reads it. By the end of the book, a reader can learn that everyone is interconnected, life on Earth isn’t forever, forgiveness is stronger than resentment, and that the big picture will always tie up loose ends.