The Five People You Meet in Heaven: Random Acts

Discuss this quote: “[T]here are no random acts. . . . [W]e are all connected. . . . [Y]ou can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind.”

What is Albom telling us about life and death?

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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6 thoughts on “The Five People You Meet in Heaven: Random Acts

  1. Album’s comment sounds like a slightly different flavor of the lesson I taught my students when we studied The Scarlet Letter: our actions always have consequences and generally affect more people than we originally assumed or intended, for better or for worse. Our actions are often influenced by the things others have done or said to us, and in turn our words and actions affect those around us. While likely not as extreme as the mythical “butterfly effect,” Album’s point about our interconnectedness has validity. [For the sake of the English nerds in this club, I’ll avoid what could be a very interesting discussion of string theory.]

    If we take Album’s “breeze in the wind” idea and apply it to life and death, though, it seems to make individual lives not matter as much. As I think about this, the song “Circle of Life” from Disney’s The Lion King is running through my head. While I believe that memories of me and consequences of my actions can and will affect those who continue to live after my death, I do not believe that I have some sort of “life force” that will ooze out of my body and be recycled into another life after I have died.

    • The day I left Guam, I finally got my book about string theory back, so when I’ve had a chance to read it, I’ll get back to you about this. 🙂

  2. A major theme of the story has been loneliness reinforced with the motif of silence. Eddie feels alone, often literally, but also spiritually in that he feels worthless.

    The quote reminds Eddie that none of us are truly alone. Our lives all intersect and affect each other. I don’t think that means that we’re unimportant as individuals or that we lose our personality becoming part of one vague “whole” but rather that we are all unique and valuable. I really like what the Blue Man said: “Strangers are just family you have yet to come to know.” I like knowing people and being known; I like feeling like I belong; so I really like his idea that strangers can be viewed as family. I think this totally fits how Christ wants us to be as well: considering other Christians as family but also loving those around us self-sacrificially, the way the Good Samaritan not only helped the wounded man but paid for his accomodations at the inn AS IF HE WERE RELATED TO HIM.

    • I like your connection between that quote by the Blue Man and the family of God. I heard someone say that we should treat everyone as a brother/sister in Christ because either they already are or they could become one! That statement has affected how I treat others and reminds me to be patient and kind with strangers, just as I would with a family member or a friend. I think my hesitancy toward the idea of interconnectedness comes from years of guarding myself against/teaching my students about Transcendentalism. I’ve always been a bit leery of those ideas; in a sense, we are all connected, just not in a pantheistic, transcendental sort of way.

      • Because I know and love Jesus I must treat everyone as brother/sister . How they define themselves is unimportant to my trying to see them as Christ would have me do.

        I am totally influenced by Transcendalism (long before I even knew what it is).
        Well, I was a Unitarian Universalist for more than thirty years so it makes sense.
        I am curious why you needed to guard yourself against teaching about Transcendentalism and was not this difficult since their voice is so strong among the poets and great writers?

  3. I like this quote. I have to learn every day and continue practicing positive attitude. I went to get some Sudaphed the other day and I am aggravated re: signing for it and all. I verbalized my aggravation and then the entire exchange became awful. Then, I thought of how I have spent much time in the past in these controlling entitled manners. The fact I had a major sinus headache was no excuse. When I go about business knowing life as blessing and abundance even common merchant exchanges are easier.

    My church community is definitely like family. I think Jesus actually asked people to leave their family and follow him. I also know that people can become so involved in church life that family can be neglected.

    I do not know enough about physics to discuss string theory,
    but I do find it fascinating. I think we are part of an interconnected web called the universe.
    I like what Mercy said about being a unique part of the whole.

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