[the five people you meet in heaven]
“Each of us was in your life for a reason. You may not have known the reason at the time, and that is what heaven is for. For understanding your life on earth” (35) “Scenery without solace is meaningless” (35) “No life is a waste. The only time we waste is the time we spend thinking we are alone” (50)”It’s the thinking that gets u killed” (60)”Sacrifice is a part of life. It’s supposed to be. It’s not something to regret. It’s something to aspire to. Little sacrifices. Big sacrifices” (93)”That’s the thing. Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you’re not really losing it. You’re just passing it on to someone else” (94) “All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair” (104) “All parents damage their children. This was their life together. Neglect. Violence. Silence” (110) “You have peace when you make it with yourself” (113)
“Things that happen before you are born still affect you. And people who come before your time affect you as well” (123) “We move through places every day that would never have been if not for those who came before us. Our workplaces, where we spend so much time–we often think they began with our arrival. That’s no true” (123) “Silence was his escape, but silence is rarely a refuge. His thoughts still haunted him” (139) “Learn this from me. Holding anger is poison. It eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves” (141) “Do you remember the lightness you felt when you first arrived to heaven? Eddie did. Where is my pain. That’s because no one is born with anger. And when we die, the soul is freed of it. But now, here, in order to move on, you must understand why you felt what you did, and why you no longer need to feel it. She touched his hand. You need to forive your father” (142) “You beat me. You shut me out. I didn’t understand. I still don’t understand. Why did you do it? Why? I didn’t know, OK? I didn’t know your life, what happened. I didn’t know you. But you’re my father. I’ll let it go now, all right? All right? Can we let it go?” (144) “Love, like rain, can nourish from above, drenching couples with a soaking joy. But sometimes, under the angry heat of life, love dries on the surface and must nourish from below, tending to its roots, keeping itself alive” (164) “Lost love is still love, Eddie. It takes a different form, that’s all. You can’t see their smile or bring them food or tousle their hair or move them around a dance floor. But when those senses weaken, another hightens. Memory. Memory becomes your partner. You nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it. Life has to end, Love doesn’t” (173) “Secret of heaven: that each affects the other and the other affects the next, and the world is full of stories, but the stories are all one” (196)
[reading Paul’s last article] Okay readers, today we’re having a little pop quiz, it’s multiple choice, so sharpen your number 2 pencils and put your thinking caps on. Ready? Here’s a quote: “Dad, you’re an idiot.” Now, contestants, this was said to me because of which of the following transgressions? A: Coming to the breakfast table wearing pajamas and black socks? B: Asking my oldest daughter if that guy I saw her talking to yesterday at school was her boyfriend? C: Referring to rapper Fiddy Cent as “Fifty Cents”? or D: Entering the room? Okay, pencils down. Actually it was a trick question. The answer is all of the above. Now do you know how many times I called my father an idiot? Zero. Why? Because I feared him. Back then we didn’t share our deep personal feelings, our deepest conversations usually revolved around the tigers bull pen. But my kids, I can’t get them to shut up! There’s not a feeling that my kids are afraid to express over and over and over. And my wife reassures me this is a good thing over and over and over, and she’s always right. So do I wish that my kids feared me? Well my house would be quieter, and I’d spend a lot less time in the bathroom, but no. Because I know that whenever they insult me whether it’s a “You’re an idiot,” “You’re a geek,” or an “I hate you,” an “I love you” isn’t far behind. And it’s the knowledge that my wife and kids love me that makes it safe for me to wear pajamas and black socks to the breakfast table.