The Five People we meet Every Day

I rarely read fiction. This has nothing to do with a dislike of the genre; I spent many days of my youth curled up with a wonderful story lost in other lives and other places. But as time marched on, and life became busy with work, graduate school, and now two children, non-fiction took over my reading lists as a practical necessity. Recently, however, I indulged in The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Album (Hyperion Press, 2003). It relates the story of Eddie, an amusement park maintenance man who dies while attempting to save a young girl on a broken ride. Eddie then goes on to meet five people on the other side. Some he knows and some he does not but all have either impacted his life or been impacted by his life. All serve to help explain and help Eddie come to terms with his life, a life he sees as an abysmal failure.

Whether we actually meet five people to explain our life after we die is immaterial, but the book raises some very interesting points to ponder. The first is the interconnectedness of life. Some of the people Eddie encounters he did not even know or knew as distant acquaintances, yet their lives were irrevocably interwoven. Every life impacts so many others in ways we could never even begin to imagine. How many lives do we touch in our daily lives? Whose day have we brightened by a smile, a kind word, or thoughtful deed? Whose path have we made more difficult, perhaps without even realizing it? Like the proverbial stone creating ripples in the pool of water, our actions have far-reaching effects.

A second point for reflection is the meaning of a life. Eddie saw his life as worthless ? he had lost those he had loved and worked at what he saw as a dead-end job, yet he comes to discover that everything had its purpose. How many times in our lives do we search for meaning? As women, caught up with the responsibilities of family and home, we can sometimes feel invisible. There are also times when paid employment can seem devoid of purpose, a means to a paycheck but little else. For us who believe in God, we trust that there is a plan for our lives. As Philip Yancey states in Searching for the Invisible God (Zondervan Publishing House, 2000) ?God promises to use any circumstance to serve his ultimate will.? The seemingly mundane, even painful, aspects of our lives are woven together with the extraordinary moments to create the unique tapestry that God has designed especially for us. As difficult as it can be at times, we should embrace our lives and realize that every breath we take is imbued with the mystery of God. We are all a part of a great plan that we haven?t even begun to understand. Hopefully, like Eddie in Album?s book, someday it will all be clear.

About the Author

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur is editor of "The Spiritual Woman Newsletter" providing information and inspiration for women who seek to deepen their relationship with God - and author of "Letters to Mary from a Young Mother" (iUniverse, 2004)