The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Redux
It was only an hour or so ago that I just finished watching the TV version of Mitch Albom's book, The Five People You Meet In Heaven.
About five months ago that I read the book (read my blog entry about the book here), and watching the made-for-TV movie on the Hallmark Channel rekindled my fascination for the book which I rank among of my absolute favorites.
But this entry is not about the story of the book, I already wrote about that some time ago. The TV version touched me in about the same way the book did when I first read it, and it got me to thinking again, about the ideas in the book...and about my own...and everyone else's mortality.
I'm in my early thirties...and if statistics are to be relied on, I'm almost halfway through the typical life expectancy of an average person. And yet, with virtually half my life gone away, lost forever in the annals of time...I am still here, still struggling, with my unfulfilled dreams, my inadequacies, living a loveless life, silently making my way amidst the din of quiet desperation...trying to make something of myself, and to make a mark for myself in this world, or at the very least with the people that I know.
While the book (and the movie) reassures us of our role and place in this world, sometimes I can't help but think that my being here is as inconsequential to the rest of humanity like a single speck of dust dancing in the sunlight on a warm, windless day.
What happens when I die? Who do I meet in heaven? Have I really touched anyone's life? We would like to think that all of us are unique, are special, are necessary in our own special ways, but is that how things really are? A cynic could easily presuppose that our lives would hardly mean much in a sea of humanity six and half billion strong.
How many times have we attended funerals for people that we know, to file our knowledge and understanding of the deceased into that chest of memories that we keep somewhere in the back of our minds...a chest that will also cease to exist when we move on as well.
Perhaps this is one of my greatest fears...to live a life of insignificance, of irrelevance, of inconsequentiality. As it is, the moment we are born, the deck is already stacked against us, to be condemned in a life of virtual uselessness and anonymity.
Pretty strong words...do I really believe all of that crap? For the most part...no. I don't. But there are times that I feel weak and that I do. Life is short, and it should not be wasted on brooding too much over consequences of choices that we may never even make, on failures suffered without even making any attempt, of being afraid to try because at the back of your mind you think you will fail. And so we don't even try.
But maybe we don't even have to. God loves us so much that He made us in His own image. He gave us the faculties needed to fulfill our purpose in this life. And what is this purpose? I cannot answer that, for our individual answers and reasons for being lie in our own hearts, waiting for the right time to come out. Even without resorting to religion, we all have a reason for being here. The universe as a whole is a finely balanced mechanism on a massive scale. We would not be here if we were not needed. There is a balance. There is always a balance.
I can be pretty deep sometimes that I actually scare myself. We are all here for a reason, whether we believe it or not. And what better reason to be here than the people around us, who would feel the void of our absence if we were not there to fill it.
I guess I just need a little encouragement. And with no one to give me any, I have to encourage myself. There. Now I feel better. :-)
Let me end this nonsensical rambling by citing some quotes from the book and the movie:
"People stop sacrificing for one another, they lose what keeps them human."
- The Captain
"Hate is a curved blade, and the harm that we do to others is also harm we do to ourselves."
"In heaven, there is no judgment, but rather an opportunity to examine our lives-who we touched, the choices we made, and the consequences of those choices."
- The Blue Man
"Life has to end Eddie, love doesn't."