This post is going to sting a bit so mom, dad, be aware. No it's not about you...but when you read it, you will be surprised I am being so bold (or maybe not!)
Ok, I read the book "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" (by Mitch Albom who also did "Tuesdays with Morrie") and I thought it was a great book. The simple message it sends is that we each make a significant impact on others, even people we don't know or have never met. It sends the message that our lives have meaning even when we think they don't.
I asked my mom, aunt and grandmother to read it, they enjoy reading and they have all endured stress lately and I thought they would enjoy it. I gave it to my aunt first. I prefaced giving her the book with "it's not a religious thing" it's just an inspiring book that helps us understand how important we are to others and the impact we have even when we don't mean to.
In a nutshell it's about an 83 year old guy named Eddie, a carnival ride maintenance guy who dies in an accident attempting to save a little girl from a falling ride. Throughout much of his life Eddie has felt he missed out on life itself. While alive, his life is mundane and boring, he thinks his life is meaningless and he goes about his day unemotional, with little expression, and even less joy. Then he dies and meets five people who I won't mention (go read the book!) are made up of a few who were once very close to him, a few just "known" and a few not known at all. They make Eddie sense of the life he lived on this earth, helped him forgive others and himself (which he could not do in his life). And in the end, Eddie is in Heaven and awaits the time when he will be one of five people to guide someone special and help them make sense of the life in which they lived, so they can move on to Heaven. And so the cycle is perpetuated.
The book was written by Mitch Albom and dedicated to his Uncle Eddie who while in the hospital one time awoke to see five people sitting in front of him, all people he had known in his past, I suppose he felt they were there to tell him something. Anyway that was Mitch's idea for the book.
Isn't that inspirational? It wasn't indecent, preachy, and talked nothing of religion, nothing of accepting Jesus, being Jewish, Muslim or anything else. It just talked of something simple....it teaches those of us who are alive that we ALL make a difference, not just to the people closest to us, the people we have contact with every day, but the people who we don't know and have never met. Our existence IS important....our lives have meaning.
Well today I get a call from my Aunt, a devout Christian, married to my uncle, who is also devout. I didn't get to the phone in time and she left me a phone message. I am very disappointed in her right now. I love her but am disappointed at the message she left. She said she began reading the book but decided to flip through it and found it was not in line with what she believes in.
I know she'd be furious at me if she knew I wrote this but I don't care. She will never see this anyway but I have to tell you that I was really upset when I heard her message. I find it very offensive that she decided it wasn't in line with her beliefs. The book wasn't profane, it didn't mock Jesus, it didn't mock ANY religion, it didn't mock anything good and moral. It wasn't for or against religion, in fact I don't believe religion is the issue of the book.
The book was simple---five people Eddie met in Heaven who helped explain what his earthly life meant and how he made a difference. Did Eddie meet Jesus Christ? I DON'T KNOW! Because that wasn't an issue, it wasn't the focus of the book.
So please someone tell me how this could OFFEND a Christian? I'm waiting.
I am in awe that my aunt could be so close-minded in her older and wiser days. Now don't get me wrong, she's a wonderful woman I love dearly, we all do, but surely of all the books she's ever read besides the Bible, she would find this somewhat inspirational, no? Oh sure she has the right to read what she wants and this isn't it. This is an inspirational book but it doesn't talk about Jesus, morality or being saved.
And so perhaps that's the problem with it, eh?