The Five People You Meet in Heaven: Closing Thoughts, Part 2

Do you have any questions about the book that you’d like to ask your fellow book club members?

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32 thoughts on “The Five People You Meet in Heaven: Closing Thoughts, Part 2

  1. The beginning of the book mentioned that Eddie didn’t really like teens. How many times had thoughtless teenagers brought trouble or tragedy into Eddie’s life?

      • I’m voting for “most thoughtless of his customers” here. I’ve only been back in retail for a year, and I can already tell you that I’d rather have a store full of absentminded moms and their toddlers than a group of teens.

      • The teens are surly and rude. While the children love him (wanting him to ride the rides with them or make twisty animals for them), the teens just mouth off and stupidly do unsafe things. Teens caused his wife’s car crash and his death (the dropped key that had worn away the cable).

      • Eddie’s thoughts toward the teens did did not grab me whan I was reading. i agree with the thoughts put forth and I do think Natalie is on to a deeper level for his dislike as teens can represent the high energy of promise. Also, I think the key falling out of the pocket was unintentional in the way of Eddie darting toward the Blue Man’s path.

      • I agree it was absolutely unintentional! It underscores the theme of how our most innocent or unknowing actions have unimaginable consequences. Maybe Eddie will be one of that boy’s five people when the boy dies and goes to heaven.

  2. 1st person: Blue Man
    Lesson: Everyone is tied to everyone else.

    2nd person: Captain
    Lesson: Life involves sacrifice and we shouldn’t regret the sacrifices we’ve had to make for others.

    3rd person: Ruby
    Lesson: You must forgive those who’ve wronged you.

    But I’m not sure what Marguerite’s and Tala’s lessons are. They said lots of things and Eddie learned from them, but I’m not finding it easy to sum up their lessons the way I could sum up the others. Does anyone have a summary of the lessons from the last two people?

  3. We discussed five people who’ve meant a lot to us in our lifetime (although – if this book were true – that list wouldn’t always match the five people we’d meet in heaven; some would be strangers). But I was wondering what kind of “heaven” you would pick (if you couldn’t just say an entire universe of diversity).

    The Blue Man picked Ruby Pier.
    The Captain picked the Philippines (?) unscarred by war.
    Ruby picked a friendly diner set in the mountains.
    Marguerite picked a world of joyful wedding celebrations.
    Tala picked a riverbank with frolicking children.

    What would you pick and why?

    • In Lois Lowry’s The Giver, Jonas is training with the current Receiver of Memory, and this man, who calls himself The Giver, is talking with Jonas about the memories Jonas is receiving. Jonas asks the Giver about his favorite memory, and the Giver is more than willing to share it with Jonas. His memory is a Christmas scene with a family gathered around the Christmas tree – happy kids, happy parents, happy grandparents. The Giver tells Jonas that the emotion he feels when he sees that memory is called love. Jonas is amazed that people can have parents-of-their-parents and that trees are brought inside to decorate for a holiday, but even more than that, he is overwhelmed by this feeling called love.

      If I were to choose a “heaven” to exist in, I would pick a family celebration like that, with a functional family – no stress, no abuse, no tension. Just love.

      • jenni, i think i reacted so strongly againt Mitch saying all parents damage their children (paraphrased) because in my deepest heart, i want to believe in the family celebration you describe as heaven. love

    • Well, other than heaven itself (of course), I would pick either a big, sunny place like one of the beaches at a state park in Vermont with all my friends and family gathered there or a quiet, cozy, artsy bookstore/coffee shop with plenty of time and money. πŸ™‚

      • Wow. How ’bout a beach with a bookstore/coffee shop a block or so away, so you could be with your friends and family and then take introverted breaks at the bookstore? Duuuuuude. I like the bookstore/coffee shop idea.

        And I found it interesting that you picked a Vermont beach instead of a Guam beach. Are beaches in Vermont warm at all?

      • No, the Vermont beaches are not warm, but there are some beautiful state parks with nice wide beaches, picnic tables, and grills. We’ve had parties and reunions there and it’s really nice.

        I would love to open a cool little bookstore/coffee shop. I haven’t been in one yet that would be the ideal. πŸ™‚

      • You know, I’ve never been to VT. And I do want to visit all 50 states in the near future … and I like state parks … perhaps I shall have to come sit on your doorstep and demand that you come outside and take me to a state park. :o)

      • Well, you can certainly plan to visit this summer provided I’m still here then. Well, I guess you could come when I’m not here, but it wouldn’t be as fun for me!

      • jenni, i think i reacted so strongly againt Mitch saying all parents damage their children (paraphrased) because in my deepest heart, i want to believe in the family celebration you describe as heaven. love

        natalie, could that coffee shop be a short walk from the beach?

    • You’re right! I think I was overwhelmed by all the realizations Eddie was making and failed to focus on that. Good summary.

    • And I think that Tala’s lesson has to do with forgiveness. My mom has my copy of the book right now, so I can’t find a quote, but that’s what stood out to me about her story.

  4. For my heaven, can I say an entire universe of diversity at peace with one another? I think I can not really answer your question because I can not limit heaven to a physical place as it is, for me, spiritual. But I will continue pondering.

    We, my husband and I have just learned about the death of our friends’ adult child. I immediately thought of the lines by Juliet to Romeo about the stars.

    • I’m so sorry to hear about that. When we hear of a loved one’s death, it makes heaven seem all the more real and makes life seem so much more fragile and brief.

      • Yea, Susie was very special. We attended her 40th Birthday Celebration. She had a seizure disorder brought on by being hit as a pedestrian (when she was 11 years). She lived in her own apartment and had two volunteer positions. She had multiple seizures daily and had an implanted devise to stop them. The problem was when she was asleep and the seizures were happening. She was in the process of getting a seizure alert companion dog. She had a wonderful wit and lit up the room. Life is fragile and brief and Susie lived it well in spite of what had been taken from her.

        The lines from Romeo and Juliet are:
        β€˜When he (she)shall die/Take him (her) and cut him (her) out in little stars/And he (she) will make the face of heaven so fine/That all the world will be in love with night/And pay no worship to the garish sun.’

  5. Thought you all would find this interesting. Steven Curtis Chapman’s family had to face death in a very real way when his youngest daughter was killed in a car accident. His grief is reflected in his most recent album, “Beauty Will Rise” (which I highly recommend, but that’s beside the point). Anyway, these are the lyrics to his song, “Heaven is the Face.”

    Heaven is the Face
    Heaven is the face of a little girl
    With dark brown eyes
    That disappear when she smiles
    Heaven is the place
    Where she calls my name
    Says, “Daddy please come play with me for awhile”

    God, I know, it’s all of this and so much more
    But God, You know, that this is what I’m aching for
    God, you know, I just can’t see beyond the door
    So right now

    Heaven is the sound of her breathing deep
    Lying on my chest, falling fast asleep while I sing
    And Heaven is the weight of her in my arms
    Being there to keep her safe from harm while she dreams

    And God, I know, it’s all of this and so much more
    But God, You know, that this is what I’m longing for
    God, you know, I just can’t see beyond the door

    But in my mind’s eye I can see a place
    Where Your glory fills every empty space

    All the cancer is gone
    Every mouth is fed
    And there’s no one left in the orphans’ bed
    Every lonely heart finds their one true love
    And there’s no more goodbye
    And no more not enough
    And there’s no more enemy
    No more

    Heaven is a sweet, maple syrup kiss
    And a thousand other little things I miss with her gone
    Heaven is the place where she takes my hand
    And leads me to You
    And we both run into Your arms

    Oh God, I know, it’s so much more than I can dream
    It’s far beyond anything I can conceive
    So God, You know, I’m trusting You until I see
    Heaven in the face of my little girl

    • This song makes me BAWL! I thought “Dance with Cinderella” was heart-touching, but this one gets me every time. The tune fits the lyrics well too. I heard him sing it live btw.) I LOVE “Beauty Will Rise”. I keep trying to remind myself that someday the sorrow will turn to joy; I’m hoping that it will be sooner rather than later.

      • I’m glad I’m not the only one who cries when she hears this song, and I’m completely jealous that you got to hear it live … I definitely have plans to go to a Casting Crowns or Matthew West or SCC concert one of these days … maybe one will happen in my neighborhood while I’m in grad school …

  6. The final question I would like to pose to dear readers is this: We often hear about parents’ great love for their children, but what do we make of a person’s great love/longing for a parent, even a very inadequate parent?
    I am not expecting an essay answer here, but I think it speaks to the strength of the mother/child or father/child bond in a new light by flipping the image.
    My question is provoked by the scene of Eddie learning of his father leaning out the window reaching for his family.

    • I think most children do long for their parent’s acceptance and love. When they think they don’t have it, it affects their whole life, often negatively. Eddie yearned for his father’s acceptance. Hearing that his father actually DID yearn for his family (calling out the window to them) was a relief for him to know that no matter how hidden, his father DID love them.

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