Thursday, October 4, 2012

have a little faith

 From time to time I like to do a little review of a book that I 've read that has made an impression on me for one reason or another. I've mentioned everything from River Jordon's  Praying for Strangers to Gary Larson's The Far Side: Gallery Five. The most recent book I read was recommended to me by my good friend Buffalo Bob Holden. He's a voracious reader and when we talk on the phone we usually discuss books that each one has read. I believe he's on the library board in his hometown of Townshend, Vermont, so he gets to see the good stuff when it comes in. The last book he recommended was Mitch Albom's Have a Little Faith .
 With the coming of fall and a slower pace, I'm left with either watching the TV or reading at the end of the day. Sometimes I do both, although there are times when I'm reading a really good book that it transfixes me so totally that I can block out all other distractions, except of course the need to pee. That takes precedence. No matter how good the book is, if you have pee, you can't enjoy it. Anyway, I was at the library the other day and saw Mitch's book so I checked it out. I've read several of his other books including Tuesday's With Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven, both of which were turned into acclaimed movies. At the beginning of the book the author explains that though the book is about faith, he makes no claim to being an expert on religion. The book takes a look at the lives of two individuals, one, a rabbi who Mitch sat under as a boy, and the other a black preacher who came to the ministry via the school of hard knocks. It starts with the rabbi asking Mitch to do his eulogy when he's gone, though Mitch hasn't been to the synagogue in years, and the black preacher hiding behind a garbage can with a shotgun asking Jesus to save him. As per  the other books he's written, he's expressed himself in print so well, the story is so compelling, that you can't wait until you can open the book again and continue on the journey you've started. At various points in the book, Mitch shares excerpts from previous sermons given by the rabbi. There was one that stood out in particular that I would like to share here.
From a Sermon by the Reb (the rabbi), 1975
"A man seeks employment on a farm. He hands his letter of recommendation to his new employer. It reads simply, 'He sleeps in a storm.'
"The owner is desperate for help so  he hires the man.
"Several weeks pass and  suddenly, in the middle of the night, a powerful storm rips through the valley.
"Awakened by the swirling rain and the howling wind, the owner leaps out of bed. He calls for his new hired hand, but the man is sleeping soundly.
"So he dashes off to the barn. He sees, to his amazement, that the animals are secure with plenty of feed.
"He runs out to the field. He sees the bales of wheat have been bound and are wrapped in tarpaulins.
"He races to the silo. He sees the doors are latched and the grain is dry.
"And then he understands. 'He sleeps in a storm.'
"My friends, if we tend to the things that are important in life, if we are right with those we love and behave in line with our faith, our lives will not be cursed with the aching throb of unfulfilled business. Our words will always be sincere, our embraces will be tight. We will never wallow in the agony of 'I could have, I should have.' We can sleep in a storm.
"And when it's time, our goodbyes will be complete.

Wow. What words of wisdom. I wish I could have met that man. The black pastor is no less impressive. In Detroit he's faithfully given the homeless a shelter in both his home and in a church that has been neglected so badly that the roof has a hole in it and when it rains, buckets collect the water. The building was given to the pastor and since the only attendees are the homeless, there isn't  money to pay for heat or food, much less repairs on the building.
Both of these men have lived their faith and have been a great example. To his credit, Mitch Albom is giving ten percent of the proceeds from this book to charitable organizations. He also oversees three charities, including The Hole in the Roof Foundation.
 At a time when it seems that no one gives a damn, that humanity is going to  hell in a handcart and there's no hope for the future, it's nice to see that off in the quiet corners, God is at work, and He's using people to get that work done.


  1. Good blog dad! That sounds like a great book!

  2. Inspiring review, Tom. This is the one you recommended to me earlier; now, how can I resist?

  3. Wow...that is a book I will be getting! Very inspiring for sure. Liz

  4. Hi Ladies- thankyou all for commenting. I obviously really enjoyed this book. The author has such a great writing style.His works are easy to read and yet profound. What power there is in speech, spoken or written, to impact another person's life. If only I would remember that the next time I open my mouth or sit at the computer.Have a great day.God bless each of you.

  5. Thanks Camille, love you too.