Monday, November 9, 2009

A Story Worth Telling (& Living)

3:35 PM
I love a good book. One that is so good, that I feel compelled to read it at a stop light, a drive-thru, and basically any other free second I may have. I just finished a book that was this good. It was the new Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I have been a Miller fan for quite awhile, having read 4 out of his now 5 titles. His easy-going, laid-back writing style has captured audiences as he tells stories about spirituality, God, politics, love, church, and faith. The first book that introduced me (and many others) to Donald Miller was Blue Like Jazz. It was a simple story about his own journey of faith & spirituality, marked with his successes and failures, highs and lows. He wrote with such conviction that the book became a bestseller that would soon be transformed into a movie. The story that unfolds through A Million Miles... is Don's journey through editing his own life [Blue Like Jazz] for the movie, and the lessons he learned through it all.

Miller explains how our lives are a story. And some of us are living better stories than others. He tells about a friend who's daughter was living a bad story. Dating a troublesome boy, and making bad decisions. Her dad (Don's friend) decided to change his family's story. He decided to build an orphanage in Mexico, with his family. Together they raised the funds, visited the location, and made it happen. And their story changed. And the wayward daughter became excited about that story. And she in turn changed her own story. So many of our stories are lived through TV, movies, and even books. But those aren't real life. Instead of watching Oscar-worthy films, we should go out and live awe-inspiring lives. God has given each of us a story to live, and we can either be part of it, and listen to the great Narrator, or try and write our own, with our own human, limited scope of vision. Part of me imagined Will Ferrell's character in Stranger than Fiction while reading this book as well. In the movie, Will Ferrell learns he is a character in someone's fiction, and there is a voice narrating his actions as well. Then the voice tells him he is going to die. And the character didn't like that too much. And begins to change things and make things happen. I have always believed that life is bigger than ourselves. And so Donald Miller's concept of living out our story made complete sense to me. I loved reading about his bike ride across America for clean water in Africa. I envied his hike through the Andes to Macchu Piccu. I hurt for him when he met his dad for the first time. I laughed at his own missteps, knowing I've made the same ones. But mostly, it challenged me to think about the story I'm living. When I get to heaven, and God asks me about my life, what am I going to remember? It's easy to forget the day to day moments, and to only remember the extraordinary. So am I living a life of extraordinary moments? What kind of legacy do I want to leave for those behind me? Is it possible to leave this world a little better than how I found it? I hope so, because that's my story.

About the author

Joy Muldoon is a full-time missionary and part-time blogger. Read about her travels, adventures, and missions here!