Sunday, February 28, 2010

Review: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years:What I Learned While Editing My Life

by Donald Miller

My Synopsis

While writing a screenplay for a movie about his life with two filmmakers, Miller reflects on the meaning of life and how it relates to a story.

Donald Miller also wrote Blue Like Jazz, which I absolutely loved.

My Thoughts

This really is a mish-mosh of thoughts I wrote down while also using quotes from his book. Sorry for the scattered-ness.

In this incredibly meaningful, philosophical book, the author writes that we are designed to attain something and that the thing we were meant to live through was designed to change us. He says that the point of a story is the character arc, the change and that the essence of a story is a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it. There is no conflict man can endure that will not produce a blessing. God is the writer of our story and we are the characters. Miller tells us to become the characters God has written us to be and to tell a good story with our lives.

I love this part:
We get robbed of the glory of life because we aren't capable of remembering how we got here. When you are born, you wake slowly to everything. Your brain doesn't stop growing until you turn twenty-six, so from birth to twenty-six, God is slowly turning the lights on, and you're groggy and pointing at things saying circle and blue and car, then sex and job and health care. The experience is so slow you could easily come to believe life isn't that big of a deal, that life isn't staggering. What I'm saying is that I think life is staggering and we're just used to it. We all are like spoiled children no longer impressed with the gifts we're given - it's just another sunset, just another rainstorm moving in over the mountains, just another child being born, just another funeral.
Another favorite:
Here's the truth about telling stories with your life. It's going to sound like a great idea, and you are going to get excited about it, and then when it comes time to do the work, you're not going to want to do it. It's like that with writing books, and it's like that with life. People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen. But joy costs pain.
Humans are designed to seek comfort and order. Even if they secretly want better for themselves. We have to force ourselves out of our comfort zones. But we don't, because even when our situations are terrible, at least we have a sense of control. We know what to expect. When people stay in bad situations it's because they are afraid to choose a better story because at least it's a bad story they are familiar with. So they stay where they are.

In talking about meeting his father, whom he hadn't seen in decades and who praised him for a book he had written, Miller says he didn't want his father's words to mean anything. He didn't want to need his affirmation. But he says, "part of our selves is spirit, and our spirits are thirsty, and my father's words went into my spirit like water."

He says that so much of our lives are spent trying to avoid conflict. So many commercials on television sell us something that will make our lives easier and Miller wonders if our stories aren't being stolen by the easy life. Again, conflicts produce blessings and we avoid conflict at all cost!

Max Lucado wrote a blurb praising this book, saying "I already want to re-read it." And I am not one to re-read books when there are so many to read, but I feel the same. I already want to re-read this.

Do I Recommend?

Yes. Donald Miller is a Christian, but the book is not preachy at all. I guarantee everyone will get something out of it.

Source: Library




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