The wonderful people of Blogging for Books recently sent me the title "Five Years In Heaven" by John Schlimm to read and review.
I wasn't sure how a memoir of a man's friendship with a nun he happened to meet in a gift shop was going to be interesting enough to hold my attention. I was so very pleasantly surprised to find that not only did it hold my attention, but I had a hard time putting the book down.
I found myself relating to the character's astute observations, life-lessons, humor, and bittersweet memories. John Schlimm writes with passion and compassion, boldly expressing true feelings and engaging the reader.
The wisdom Schlimm and Sister Augustine share with each other kept me learning, and I felt that I'd grown just by having read this true account. There were so man insightful things shared that I couldn't share them all. But, being a woman, the words he recorded on page 193 stuck with me. Sister Augustine (the nun Schlimm befriended) gave him a bit of wisdom about what she would say to young ladies to guide them in life. He wrote:
"Sister Augustine thought for a moment while the wind chimes continued to croon. "I'd tell them to learn how to rely on themselves. I'd want them to know that they have all the potential inside them that young men have. I'd say it's okay to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them. I'd hope they would develop a strong faith in God, and learn from examples like Mary and other female saints, who have done as much to build the Church as anyone else. I'd also encourage them to seek out examples of kind, compassionate women in their own lives, like you have, whether it's women they see as professional mentors or their own mothers and grandmothers. Finally, I'd tell them to find some way to serve others, using their talents and interests. By the way, I'd tell young men the same thing!"
Words of such great wisdom in that small paragraph. Such greatness.
I learned so much from reading of their relationship, not only about faith, but also about taking chances. And most of all about living in the wonderful moments God provides in life.
Sister Augustine was real, open to new experiences in her wise years, and taught me a few things as I read this wonderfully written book. John Schlimm seemed to learn much from her, and even taught her how to live and give more than she even thought she could, using her talents to bless others around her.
I highly recommend "Five Years in Heaven" to everyone. Yes, it's about a man and a nun, but it isn't about religion. It's about the importance of building relationships, giving people a chance, and maybe even imparting some wisdom along the way.
This book definitely gets two thumbs up from me! A wonderful, touching, delightful read!