Written by Shelley Plett Tuesday, 10 November 2009 13:48
“Sometimes you cannot believe what you see, you have to believe what you feel. And if you are ever going to have other people trust you, you must feel that you can trust them, too—even when you’re in the dark. Even when you’re falling.” —Morrie Schwartz, quoted by Mitch Albom in “Tuesdays with Morrie”
It may go against all the rules of acceptance, but I usually judge a book by its cover. In this case, I am being literal. Actual books. Some book cover designs are more “open-able.”
They’re so simple.
This is the case for a group of books from journalist, sports guy and author Mitch Albom. His past four books are not much bigger than a 5x7 portrait and packaged like he hand-wrapped each one of them and personally handed them over as a gift especially for you.
It would almost be enough just to display them on a shelf. Coincidentally, all of his book covers match my décor. But I took the next step and read them as they were released: “Tuesdays with Morrie,” “The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” “For One More Day,” and the latest, “Have a Little Faith.”
The words inside of the covers feel like a personal communication line, too.
Albom doesn’t hide the fact that he has issues. His stories, especially the non-fiction (“Tuesdays” and “Faith”), chronicle his journeys from somewhere he didn’t know he was to a destination he didn’t know he needed to find. He’s honest about his errors in judgment and priorities and tells an inspirational story the way few can.
They’re so simple.
“Have a Little Faith” had a long list of zingers. Two or three sentence stretches that I’d love to throw quotation marks around and list in alphabetical order with footnotes and sub-points. But that would be wrong, and probably boring, which would do a disservice to his work.
Better to let him do the detailing.
Both of his non-fiction books (“Tuesdays” and “Faith”) present words of wisdom from Albom’s mentor and religious leaders. And they couldn’t come at a better time—who couldn’t use a sliver of wisdom and humility?
“Faith” is a story about Albom’s reconnection with his rabbi, the only one he ever had, although Albom admitted he had fallen away from his religion for most of his adult life. Not intentionally, but as he described it, falling.
“…Falling is less dramatic. You drift. You wander off,” he explains.
His rabbi asked Albom to deliver his eulogy when the time came. He agreed, but with the stipulation he could get to know him as a person, again…or for the first time. Through this Jewish rabbi and another man, a reformed addict turned Christian pastor, he sees the line between faiths blurred by sharpening his own focus onto something bigger.
Similarly, Albom’s teacher Morrie Schwartz (“Tuesdays with Morrie”) taught him about living outside of his life. Or what he considered to be his life: work, travel, success. Morrie was dying from Lou Gehrig’s disease. He left his student with a final lesson on the critical need for touch, generosity and giving.
It’s not all about me, people are worth the time, tradition is how we influence future generations, family is everything, and there’s something much bigger out there. These are the messages if we’re ready to listen. But after a while those messages fade. I suppose that’s normal, too. Most days, life gets in the way.
But for today at least, I do “have a little faith” fresh on my mind. And on my color coordinated bookshelf. From there, I can be re-influenced whenever I open the book again. The best thing about those 249 pages is the same thing that drew me into “Tuesdays with Morrie.”
They’re so simple.