Thursday, February 4, 2010

A rabbi and a priest - have a little faith

I just finished the book "have a little faith" by Mitch Albom ("Tuesdays with Morrie"). The book was just sitting there, on the bookshelf at the bookstore, and caught my eye (I love bookstores).

This book is the true story about interactions Mitch has with the longtime rabbi he had growing up, and a priest struggling to continue a parish and provide for the homeless in a poverty-stricken area of Detroit. It begins with the rabbi asking Mitch to do his eulogy (although the rabbi, or "Reb," is not sick) and ends with readers feeling they can impact change, that change can occur by having faith, by looking up, regardless of whether we are Christian, Jew, or something else. "It's the blending of different notes that makes music," the Rabbi says about different faiths.

"Reb" carries faith strongly throughout his life. When his young daughter suddenly dies of an asthma attack in the 50s and he was angry with God, his faith also soothed him, reminding him that we are all "frail parts of something more powerful," and that he was blessed to have his child for a few short years. He stayed with the same synagogue for his life, continuing to go there after he retired, continuing to counsel people, continuing a simple life. He didn't push other people to have faith, yet Mitch found his faith restored in getting to know the Reb well over 8 years.

Henry, in Detroit, has a different story. Henry is a former drug dealer and user, who traded a life of wealth and corruption to a life of poverty and commitment to God. One might wonder if Henry is trying to "score points" to enter heaven. But Henry doesn't waver in his beliefs ... "What I do here, for the rest of my life, is only my way of saying, 'Lord, regardless of what eternity holds for me, let me give something back to you.' "

Two very different lives, lifestyles to an extent, belief systems. One God. "If you're looking for the miracles God can do with a life," Henry preaches, "you're looking at one." "Seeing Henry that day, being cheered by all those new faces, I believe, as the Reb once told me, that, with a little faith, people can fix things and they truly can change."

A truly impactful book which helped my faith grow, and helped me realize the extreme poverty faced by many. We can all choose our own causes and allow faith to lead us down a path of giving. And we can create change.

------------------------------------------------------------------------- (website for A Hole in the Roof Foundation, linked strongly to Henry) "to help faith groups of every denomination who care for the homeless repair the spaces in which they carry out their work and offer their services."

1 comment:

Brasil said...

Albom takes the reader on a journey through two very different worlds...Trying to shift through his own childhood beliefs he reveals feelings that include guilt, his own sense of community and lack of it... But it is the faith of both the Rabbi and the Priest that is captivating. Each man on their own very spiritual journey try and show Albom what faith and community is about. It will warm your heart and the story will have you thinking about your own community...about giving unselfishly and about God and faith.