“This is a story about a man named Eddie and it begins at the end, with Eddie dying in the sun. It might seem strange to start a story with an ending. But all endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time.”—from The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom.
A friend of mine gave me a copy of this book after my brother passed away. She said I probably wouldn’t want to read it now, but one day, when I was ready, she said I would.
So, I hugged her, thanked her, and placed the book on my bookshelf. And it sat there. And sat there. And sat there some more.
I’d pick it up occasionally. I’d look at it. I’d think about reading it. And then I’d put it back down.
For three years it sat on my book case collecting dust. I thought many times about trading it in for something I’d actually read, but always changed my mind.
Last year, one of my students was reading it. She told me it was one of the best books she’d ever read. So, I decided to give it a try. I came home. Picked it up, dusted it off, and opened it up.
And I don’t think I put it down more than twice until I finished it.
If you’ve never read it, you should. It is a story about Eddie and it does start with his death. After he dies, he goes on to meet five people whose lives he impacted.
I picked up the book again recently. I was teaching a lesson on writing a good “hook” and I was looking for some good examples. I again picked up this book, which now resides in my classroom library, and read again the opening line.
What a profound thought. All endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time.
I pondered it, knew I would end up blogging about it, and was just letting it simmer in the back of my mind. I had so many things I wanted to say, and I wasn’t quite sure which ones I really wanted to say.
Friday night, with these thoughts still fermenting, I ran into a group of old acquantainces. These acquantainces were part of an old relationship, a long time ago. I sat there with these people that represented another part of my old life, and sat there with a person who represents a part of my new life.
It was almost like a weird Christmas Carol thing. I could almost see what life could’ve been like if I’d stayed on one path. And I could see what my life is like now.
Which do I prefer?
My life now.
That particular path ending made me choose another. It darn sure wasn’t the easiest path to take, but it was the right one. And I learned so many lessons from each and every bump, crater, and dead end I hit.
That ending created a new beginning for me. It was a long beginning. But hey, I’ve always said I’m stubborn when it comes to learning lessons. 🙂
I’m sure I’ll have many other endings in my life, we all will. But, each and every time something ends for me, I’ll think of the potentially wonderful beginnings. 🙂
For now, it’s Sunday and I hear the cajun beats of Whiskey River calling my name.
Here’s to beginnings, endings, and the spaces in between.