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Excerpt

Excerpt

Have a Little Faith: A True Story

Author’s Note

This story spans eight years. It was made possible by the cooperation of two unique men, Albert Lewis and Henry Covington --- who shared their histories in great detail --- as well as their families, children, and grandchildren, to whom the author expresses his eternal gratitude. All encounters and conversations are true events, although for purposes of the narrative, the time line has, on a few occasions, been squeezed, so that, for example, a discussion held in October of one year may be presented in November of the next.

Also, while this is a book about faith, the author can make no claim to being a religion expert, nor is this a how-to guide for any particular belief. Rather, it is written in hope that all faiths can find something universal in the story.

The cover was inspired by Albert Lewis’s old prayer book, held together by rubber bands. Per the tradition of tithing, one-tenth of the author’s profits on every book sold will be donated to charity, including the church, synagogue, and homeless shelters in this story.

The author wishes to thank the readers of his previous books, and welcome new readers with much appreciation.

**

In the Beginning...

In the beginning, there was a question.

“Will you do my eulogy?”

I don’t understand, I said.

“My eulogy?” the old man asked again. “When I’m gone.” His eyes blinked from behind his glasses. His neatly trimmed beard was gray, and he stood slightly stooped.

Are you dying? I asked.

“Not yet,” he said, grinning.

Then why---

“Because I think you would be a good choice. And I think, when the time comes, you will know what to say.”

Picture the most pious man you know. Your priest. Your pastor. Your rabbi. Your imam. Now picture him tapping you on the shoulder and asking you to say good-bye to the world on his behalf.

Picture the man who sends people off to heaven, asking you for his send-off to heaven.

“So?” he said. “Would you be comfortable with that?”

***

In the beginning, there was another question.

“Will you save me, Jesus?”

This man was holding a shotgun. He hid behind trash cans in front of a Brooklyn row house. It was late at night. His wife and baby daughter were crying. He watched for cars coming down his block, certain the next set of headlights would be his killers.

“Will you save me, Jesus?” he asked, trembling. “If I promise to give myself to you, will you save me tonight?”

Picture the most pious man you know. Your priest. Your pastor. Your rabbi. Your imam. Now picture him in dirty clothes, a shotgun in his hand, begging for salvation from behind a set of trash cans.

Picture the man who sends people off to heaven, begging not to be sent to hell.

“Please, Lord,” he whispered. “If I promise...”

This is a story about believing in something and the two very different men who taught me how. It took a long time to write. It took me to churches and synagogues, to the suburbs and the city, to the “us” versus “them” that divides faith around the world.

And finally, it took me home, to a sanctuary filled with people, to a casket made of pine, to a pulpit that was empty.

In the beginning, there was a question.

It became a last request.

“Will you do my eulogy?”

And, as is often the case with faith, I thought I was being asked a favor, when in fact I was being given one.

Excerpted from HAVE A LITTLE FAITH: A True Story © Copyright 2011 by Mitch Albom. Reprinted with permission by Hyperion. All rights reserved.

Have a Little Faith: A True Story
by by Mitch Albom

  • Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction
  • paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • ISBN-10: 140131046X
  • ISBN-13: 9781401310462