Did you ever see the movie, “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” with Jon Voight and Ellen Burstyn, among many other wonderful actors? In the movie, Eddie, played by Jon Voight, takes a journey at the end of his life that involved a conversation with five people that had a significant impact on his life in some way or he significantly impacted theirs. And it’s realized that “the five” are chosen by God and determined by the choices he made in life. For Eddie in the movie, he had a lot of unresolved issues with the Vietnam war among other things in his life. As a side note, it’s an amazing movie and I highly recommend it. But I brought it up, because I felt like maybe I was in my own “the five” scenario while in the hospital!
So I was admitted to the hospital for almost a week and by the second day, the doctors decided that maybe I was at risk for a blood clot in my legs, so they sent me to have a test taken to determine my actual risk. The test was like a sonogram where they put gel over my legs and used a mouse-like thing to take pictures of the blood flow. As I’m getting this test done, I made small chat with the woman doing the test. She was in her late 20’s, a pretty Asian girl. Her mannerisms were vaguely familiar more so than her looks. She asked me what I did for a living, and I told her that I owned an advertising agency in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. She looked at me and said, “Oh my gosh — I used to work for you in Zelienople.” I looked at her and realized she was one of my first hires as a graphic designer and the first person I ever had to let go after just a few months. That was very difficult for me at the time and left a mark on my heart. I wanted to crawl under the cot I was sitting on!
I had to sit through that 30-minute test, completely vulnerable — it was unnerving. She politely told me that she realized graphic design was a very crowded space and she went back to school — she felt healthcare was where the jobs were. I thought maybe she hadn’t still found her true calling, as she seemed kind of blasé about it. She gave me her email address and we parted with friendly smiles. But it was awkward and unsettling for me.
And somehow I had a glimpse of maybe how Eddie felt to relive some very uncomfortable moments during his lifetime. Clearly, this encounter for me didn’t hold the kind of significance of the five that Eddie experienced in the movie. But it made me think about how our actions today may come back around full circle. And in this case, it’s not something I could simply walk away from or ignore.
The whole situation made me think about how important it is to ask for forgiveness when we need to. This scenario was more awkward than anything else, but next time it may not be. It makes me sad for the things I can never make right. And it makes me realize that I’ll have to answer for all my actions one day. I tried to imagine who “the five” might be that I meet on my way to Heaven. If you ever get a chance to see the movie, it’s a good one.
Always B E L I E V E !