Have a little Faith
By Mitch Albom
First we had Tuesdays With Morrie, then The Five People You Meet In Heaven, and then One More Day. The first book catapulted Mitch Albom to the top of the best seller list and it was a well earned leap. The story of the dying Morrie Schwartz and his former student discussing the meaning of life and death was touching and thought provoking.
Here we have an enjoyable read that could almost be Morrie 2. Mr Albom is very good at visiting and chatting with old people; hearing the wisdom of their life stories and recording them. This time the old man is a Rabbi, and like Tuesdays with Morrie, the story is true.
Rabbi Albert Lewis is getting to be an old man, with aches and pains. After attending and event where Mitch Albom is guest speaker, he approaches the author with a request. “Will you do my eulogy? he asks. It is not the first time Mr Albom has met Albert Lewis. He attended the Synagogue, took his Bar Mitzvah and listened to the sermons of Rabbi Albert Lewis from the time he was a young lad. When he graduated from College, he walked away from Sabbath habits and Temple attendance, (except for visits at home) and he didn’t walk back. Until now.
Mitch asks to make regular visits with the Rabbi, renewing acquaintance with him, in order to, (at some date in the future) do his eulogy. The Rabbi agrees. That’s the first story.
There are two stories in this book; the Rabbi’s and that of another man. Henry Covington was one of a family of seven children raised in the poor end of town by people worn down by life. At 10 years of age he attended a Baptist camp, where he was named “a child of God” and was “saved” by a young girl counselor. Sadly, his life takes all the wrong turns and eventually he does time in jail. One night he crosses the wrong people and he knows he’s a dead man if they find him. He prays for rescue. He admits, “I have been a troubled child, a delinquent teen, a bad man . . . could I still be a saved soul?” In his discussions with the Rabbi, Mitch is on home turf. This, after all, was his religion, though he’d slipped badly, and his Rabbi. When they discuss questions of pain and prayer, they are talking about the experience of their book, and their people. He begins to question the us and them of their discussions.
When Mitch goes to visit the “I am my Brothers Keeper Ministry,” he finds a derelict Church building full of homeless people, no heat and no budget. Reverend Henry Covington is bringing dinner, a bedroll and the Word to Detroit’s homeless. Mitch Albom says “find a man of faith, sit down and talk . . . you’ll learn a lot.” This is a book you’ll read more than once.
Peggy Freeman is a freelance writer living in Red Deer.