Published on January 30, 2012
I hate Mitch Albom yet I also envy him at the same time. I hate him because he’s making it extremely hard for me to put down his book once I start reading it. I envy him for having the chance to meet Morrie (Tuesdays with Morrie) and having an intimate and meaningful relationship with his church leader Albert Lewis as he narrated in Have a Little Faith.
In the beginning of the book, Albom provided a disclaimer saying that HaLF is not a how-to-guide for any particular belief. I was a little hesitant that I may not appreciate the book given that I am a devout Catholic. But reading it turned out to be an amazing experience as I learn to value my faith and respect others’ religious beliefs.
Albom described himself as a man who used to run away from God. I bet a lot of people can relate to him. With the help of people like Albert Lewis and Henry Covington, his journey of faith became fruitful. And through his writing, his journey will surely teach us valuable lessons about our faith as well. Most of his questions about faith are same as mine. And surprisingly, even Albert Lewis admitted that he also wonders the same things but cannot answer everything.
I love how the journey of two men from different beliefs can transform the life of Albom. And I have to admit that it has changed mine too. Let me share with you some of the important lessons I got after reading HaLF.
1. A person is not, and should never be defined by his past. Despite the very dark past of Henry Covington and his constant running away from God, he received His grace and turned out to be a pastor who later on cared for the homeless and the distressed.
2. We don’t do good things to get a reward because doing good is what we are really supposed to do.
3. Albom refers to Lewis as a man of God. Lewis said that everybody is a man of God.
4. “Faith is about doing. You are how you act, not just how you believe.”
5. “When you come to the end, that’s where God begins.”
6. When Lewis and Albom discussed about people who don’t believe in God, Lewis said, “It is far more comforting to think that God listened and said no, than to think that nobody’s out there.”
7. Lewis not only respects other religious beliefs. He is also unbiased. Unlike other religious leaders who claim that their belief is better, that others are wrong or that God’s grace is only exclusive for the members of their church, Lewis was far from that. When Albom questioned him about it, he said, “Look. I know what I believe. It’s in my soul. But I constantly tell our people: you should be convinced of the authenticity of what you have, but you must also be humble enough to say that we don’t know everything, we must accept that another person may believe something else.” If the whole world could only live through these words, a number of meaningless wars will be eliminated.
8. When asked how he managed to overcome the death of his four-year old daughter without diminishing his faith, he asked, “Is it not better to have known Rinah, my daughter, for four years, than not to have known her at all?”
9. A man buried his wife and told Lewis how he loved her so much, and that he ALMOST told her once. Lewis told Albom, “Nothing haunts us like the things we don’t say.”
10. Faith is like the salesman from the proverb that Lewis told Albom – a salesman who patiently and tirelessly knocks on the door every single day who gets spit in the face by a fed up customer. Instead of giving up, he smiled and said, “It must be raining!”
My list goes on. I can blog about the whole book but I want those who haven't read it yet to go through the same experience I had while reading. I am still amazed how the very simple storytelling style of Albom can change someone’s life. It made me smile and occasionally made me cry. But more than anything else, it gave me hope – a hope that though my journey will not be easy, my faith will surely aid me in my struggles.