I lost my younger brother to heart failure as a complication of the dengue fever he contracted a week before he passed away, last July of 2013. I bougI lost my younger brother to heart failure as a complication of the dengue fever he contracted a week before he passed away, last July of 2013. I bought this book around Easter the same year, way before learning that I wasn't going to see him again forever. At the time I bought the book, I remember now, I only thought of the famous author of this book, Arswendo, a familiar name from my teenage years gone by, and the sweet and neat book cover - I just had to have it! I had no idea at that time that I would be short of one brother (I still have another one, the youngest, albeit estranged one but that would be another story..) before long..
When I learned about his passing, I was halfway around the world, waiting for the worst news. My family have informed me that his condition was getting worse, but I still refuse to think that this giant of a guy with a sensitive heart and two little kids in tow, would eventually succumb to dengue fever. I contracted the fever at the beginning of the year, and stayed in the hospital all by myself for 4 straight days, lost 5 lbs, and emerged just fine. Dengue fever can be deadly, but healthy people usually takes only a couple of days until the incubation period end, even my nephew (his son) contracted the same fever and survived without spending a day in the hospital, and he was 6! His heart condition just did it for him - it was the way for him to leave this world. I wonder if God had sent his best angel to meet him and guide him across the 'threshold,' to live in one of His many mansions (John 14:2) and probably get together with our beloved grandma (he had always been her favorite, having a face that closely resembled our grandad!) along the way.
When I started reading this book - the first 10 chapters are introduction to several dying characters - I thought it'd be just another book of life after death, instead, it actually celebrates life. Life is precious, but death is inevitable. There are certain ways to live life. Some people got lucky, have it easy, and just go through life until the angel of death comes calling. Others have to go through suffering, having no other options than plowing through, but somehow along the way God blesses their lives, even without them realizing it.
When you arrive at Ch. 17 then you learn that the book is about an angel; the angel who can only understand things as they are, just like the way the sun is the center of the universe, but not feeling it. He is sent to 'pick-up' dying people before they eventually cross over. He's going to accompany each and every one of them in 'purgatory' until each one of the is 'snatched' to the other Other Side. Mr. Angel in this story has been doing his job since life begins probably, but in Ch. 17 he met his contemporary, a little girl he's supposed to pick-up. No, it's not like the kid version of "The Bishop's Wife."
The girl is the antithesis of Mr. Angel. She's probably an angel in waiting. She's probably an angel about to get her wings. In this book, she taught something about life to Mr. Angel, to someone who only knows how to take someone's life.
Would it be something to think about, whether the universe is created by the Great Designer, or just the extension of our limited understanding.. I used to have a Korean classmate who was an atheist (he probably still is) and no matter how convinced you are that every human being comes to the world with a purpose, he would adamantly say that we are just like a reed that would eventually rot and die. To tell you the truth, even after reading this book, I still don't know which belief system I should believe in, but Arswendo helped me look through the darkest of the human heart, and convinced me that God probably is just waiting for us to return to Him. That is why we learn from our ancestors that there are angelic beings. That is probably the purpose of this book. In the meantime, I'm going to read my Bible again, just to be sure.. and so should you, go back see your own Book of Life, and celebrate your life!...more
I was into the Chicken Soup series when it was still a fad, and now I realized the series wouldn't hold a candle to this book! Mr. Matthews doesn't ofI was into the Chicken Soup series when it was still a fad, and now I realized the series wouldn't hold a candle to this book! Mr. Matthews doesn't offer warm and fuzzy advices, but instead remind you that real people had been worse than you and they managed to succeed. The illustration is just a plus. I love the inspirational stories added in each chapter, and some even have website and email related to the person in the real life story. I asked my mom to read this, and she started to come out of her depression. We've just lost my brother, his son, and father to my nephew and niece. At the same time, I went through a personal problem that include leaving my much loved job. Somehow, I believe, after reading the book, that my problem can be overcome, and I have the right to be happy, even in hard times! So if you can only buy 1 book, leave the other mumbo-jumbo self-help books behind and get this one!...more
Before Randy Pausch, there's Morrie Schwartz. Mitch Albom was Morrie's student at Brandeis. Before his beloved professor passed away, he visited MorriBefore Randy Pausch, there's Morrie Schwartz. Mitch Albom was Morrie's student at Brandeis. Before his beloved professor passed away, he visited Morrie every Tuesday for three months, during which time Morrie would dispense all his wisdom - life lessons to Albom.
While not exactly life's greatest lesson, most of Morrie's wisdom gives one a warm feeling, like the apple pie you had in your grandmother's house, topped off with the smell of her withering skin. Like the old days, Morrie is a dying breed, soon enough we'll forget there's once a world without iPods and Blackberries, a world where people can count on their own families and neighbors. As Morrie said, "..there is no foundation, no secure ground, upon which people may stand today if it isn't the family... If you don't have the support and love and caring and concern that you get from a family, you don't have much at all..." Of which he followed with a quote from Auden: "Love each other or perish."
Albom divides each of his Tuesday visits into its own chapter, making it easier for readers to absorb each of Morrie's messages, all the while inserting Morrie's characters as the glue that ties up the entire book. If you need a pick-me-up after suffering a mild depression, this book may do for you, or it would depresses you more. I suppose, it's all depend on who reads it. It's as much about living as it is about dying gracefully. One thing that Morrie said caught me, "Everyone knows they're going to die.. but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently." If you like Randy Pausch's, you'd surely find that this book would knock Randy's off your shelf pretty soon....more