The Five People You Meet in Heaven: Ruby

Examine whether or not you agree with the Ruby when she tells Eddie, “You have peace when you make it with yourself.”

Consider what she means when she says, “Things that happen before you are born still affect you. And people who come before your time affect you as well.” How does this relate to Eddie’s life?

Who are some who have come before you that have affected your own life?

For those of you concerned about source attribution, I’m basing some of my discussion questions on those provided by LitLovers, who got their questions from the publisher of TFPYMIH. I sometimes change how they phrase the questions and leave some out, but I’m using them to guide the general direction of the discussion. 
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7 thoughts on “The Five People You Meet in Heaven: Ruby

  1. 1. I can sort-of agree with the idea of making peace with yourself. There certainly are circumstances and situations that are beyond my control, and I can still choose to trust God in those situations or to do the little bit that I do have control over. [This sounds very similar to the idea of forgiving someone who hasn’t asked for it, or someone you don’t have contact wiht any more, just to make sure you aren’t harboring anger against them.] Also, I don’t know that I make peace with myself per se, but through salvation I do have peace with God, and having that relationship right allows me to display God’s grace and love to those around me. And there are many things in my life over which I do have some modicum of control, and those are areas where I can choose to pursue peace.

    2. Obviously, Eddie’s life would have been quite different if Ruby’s husband had never created the pier in the first place. We all live with the consequences of others’ actions, both good and bad.

    3. Is that ever a loaded question … I’ll just give one example instead of detailing the “some people” asked for in the question. My grandfather, whom I never met, chose to abuse his children, sometimes beating them with his belt and locking them in the “crying closet” – a closet with no inside doorknob so the kids couldn’t get out unless they were let out. Growing up in this abusive situation affected the way my mother related to others and also goaded her into leaving the house as early as she could. She married at 16, and likely because she never resolved some of those early issues, divorced only 13 years later. The abuse my grandfather inflicted on his family endured through generations and I was also abused by an uncle on the same side of the family, an uncle who likely also never met this grandfather. The cycle of abuse can and often does carry through generations in a family until someone chooses to end it.

  2. I agree with Jenni that true peace comes from a relationship with God. When we realize that Christ took our punishment for us and that God has forgiven us of our sins and that He loves us and showers His grace upon us, we can have peace (Romans 5:1). In a sense, I can have peace with myself by not beating myself up over mistakes I’ve made and by trying to live peaceably with others (I Peter 3:11), but ultimately, I’m only able to do that because of God’s grace in my life.

    We can’t change how other people’s decisions affect our lives, but we can trust that God is in control and is working all things out for our good (Romans 8:28).

    Well, there can be both good and bad ways that people affect our lives. I’ll choose a positive example here. My parents moved to South Carolina so my dad could attend college there. When he finished, they decided to leave the large, established ministries there to move to Vermont to help a small church. We’ve attended that church ever since, I went to school there, and we have been a part of that ministry for years. I think that my parents’ decision to move had a huge, positive impact on my life, and I’m so glad I could grow up in a small town in rural Vermont rather than SC.

  3. Like you both, I believe that true peace comes through Christ. However, I’ve known Christians who KNOW that Jesus died for their sins, but they still struggle with frustration and resentment or regret and seem to never have true peace.

    Eddie spent his life quietly angry – angry at his dad, angry at himself (he thinks HE made the horrible mistake of entering the burning building that lamed him), angry at never leaving the pier or doing anything with his life, angry over losing his wife, maybe angry at not having children, although that’s conjecture on my part. He needs to face this anger and release it to find peace.

    “He thought about the bitterness after his wounding, his anger at all he had given up. Then he thought of what the Captain had given up and he felt ashamed.”

    This is another awesome quote. I know I often feel angry at what I feel I’ve given up. But when I consider what others have given up, my sacrifices pale in comparison and most of all, when I consider what Jesus gave up for me. THAT then enables me to forgive, even as I desire to be forgiven.

  4. To Jenni, there is a saying about family systems, that what is not revealed is sure to be repeated.
    I will come back later for my response to this part of our story.

    • I definitely agree that when we don’t fix the problem or acknowledge it exists, our families are trapped in a cycle of abuse and pain. I have determined that this cycle of abuse in my family will stop with me.

  5. I agree with Ruby about making peace with yourself. I think we can do this in our earthly life. Speaking on a personal level, I have had a lot of losses within my family of origin. Aging and health changes brings about other losses. Yet at 68, many things are coming around right, even though nothing has changed in the events. What has changed is I have stopped trying to make it O.K. like I did in the past. I am more open about some of it than i was in the past. My first and last prayer every day is one of Thanks Giving for the abundance of life.

    Before I was born, my mother had found her father dead from a self-inflicted gun shot wound (he had cancer of the neck and more, quite deadly at the time). My mother became Schizophrenic and then, by the time I was 16 months old, she was institutionalized. My Dad handled all this initially by drinking, but he stop. We had a wonderful paternal grand mother who gave us security and love. My life was etched in loss, but there were adults who tried to make it as good as they could for us.

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