“That was really an accident,” Mitch Albom recently called the publication of his first nonfiction book, “Tuesdays with Morrie. .” At the time, the sports columnist was just trying to help pay his former professor’s medical bills. However, when the book was published, it became something more. An international sensation. It also changed Albom’s life.
Next Sunday, the television movie based on “Have a Little Faith”-- Albom’s second nonfiction book-- will air on ABC. I recently had the opportunity to interview Albom about his new film, his career path and finding his glory in life.
“Faith” tells the true story of Albom’s experience learning about the life of his childhood rabbi, Rabbi Albert Lewis (Martin Landau). The story begins with the elderly rabbi asking Albom to write his eulogy. The rabbi isn’t sick but he wants everything organized for when his time comes.
Albom reluctantly agrees and soon begins interviewing his rabbi as research for the assignment. Eventually, Albom also befriends a Christian pastor named Henry Covington (Laurence Fishburne), a former drug dealer who found God after a near-death experience. The film tells the story of both men and how their religious beliefs affect Albom on his spiritual journey.
I spoke to Albom about what he wants viewers to get out of his story. He said that he wants people to see the film and realize that “it’s never too late to go back and rediscover faith” and that “faith can be something that pulls people together.” The film cleverly balances both the rabbi's sturdy faith and the pastor's unwavering beliefs.
The story’s focus on faith and hope is a far cry from what is often seen on primetime television. Critics often note that television shows and movies focus too much on sex and violence but “Faith” does neither. The minimal amount of violence in this movie merely shows Covington’s life before he found God and turned away from crime.
When I asked Albom why more television films and shows didn’t focus more on faith, he noted that “in general, those aren’t ratings-getters.” But he added that “I hope that people will find [“Faith”] as sort of a relief from a lot of the stuff they see on TV and tune into it because of that.”
In the story, Albom discovers that his former rabbi has written a book entitled “What’s Your Glory” so I also asked Albom about defining his glory. What positive effect does he bring to this world.
Albom responded by saying that his glory is to “use my ability that God gave me to tell stories and try to use those stories to affect some kind of positive outcome.” After writing “Morrie,” Albom realized that there was “a lot more power than I realized in these kinds of stories.”
Since then, Albom has published several more books about faith including “Five People you Meet in Heaven”. Morrie may have become well-known for commenting o sports but he became a household name by writing about values and faith.
Mitch Albom has indeed found his glory.