Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2012 5:57:44 PM
“What is my purpose in life?” This is a question we are bound to ask ourselves sometime. And as much as we would like to know the answer, it is likely that we will never fully understand how the chips fall in our lives. Mitch Albom’s “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” explores the possibility of being able to find out one’s purpose. In the journey of the story the protagonist passes away and enters what is called “Heaven.” One at a time, he meets five people, some of familiarity and some of faint memory. Even as the protagonist meets everyone, he struggles to understand the five W’s--why was he doing what he did for a living with the people he did at the time and place that he did? It is only at the very end that he knows the “how”--how he contributed to society.
Taking other people into consideration is important when thinking about our larger purpose(s). Sometimes we intersect with certain people at certain times, places, and circumstances. In expanding my scope of thinking I began to consider the idea that I made more differences than I initially thought.
Would my boss have stayed at his job had I not tirelessly worked for free for three months?
Would X and Y have met and gotten married had I not left my job and prompted a hiring process?
Would my cousin have gained enough courage to move to a different city and pursue higher education had I not studied abroad?
Would my classmate have come back to school had I not demonstrated that I got accepted for an internship and fellowship within my first year of graduate school?
Would my classmate have pushed to have the first “The Vagina Monologues” at our graduate school had I not discussed my three years of experience with the show?
On the flipside, others probably influenced me in simple ways as well.
Would I have pursued applying for the military if Z never invited me to have lunch dates?
Would I have met my best friend if my friend did not host her birthday party on a particular night?
Would I have began riding my bike at a consistent basis if my sister not bought herself a bike?
Would I have applied and accepted other opportunities if I was not rejected for the first fellowship opportunity available to me?
Would I have become a performer and advocate for “The Vagina Monologues” if my friend did not perform in the benefit show our freshman year of college?
Is every moment determined? Does every moment have a meaning a purpose? Question marks can only linger and we can all just speculate for the best. By the end of reading “The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” readers can feel secure with the idea that life does have a purpose. However, I hope we can all realize this before we reach each of our versions of Heaven. Miracles and meaning hide in small actions.