Friday, October 23, 2009

The Story

I just finished reading Donald Miller's new book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years; I burned through it so fast that I almost forgot what happens in the book (Here is an excerpt). If you don't know anything about Donald Miller, you have to start with his hit book Blue Like Jazz and go from there. He's written some other books, and I even tried to read on of them, but I just couldn't get through it; I really tried but I couldn't even force the words into my eyes. His newest book, though, is remarkable, I recommend it to everyone. He talks about the concept of story all throughout the book; he tells stories about writing his own life story, and I can really identify with that, unlike the paving escrow agreement I just glanced at for a real estate closing. What does it take to make a story great? How do you live a great story?
My life story has been told by all the tiny pepperings of small (and not so small) events. Hasn't everyone's? Family birthday parties.....let's see, I had a 1950s theme-party in 4th grade where everybody had to wear poodle skirts and white tee shirts with cigarette packs rolled up in the sleeves; I had Hawaiian-themed party another year.....One time at LCF's dance team practice, I was so delirious with practicing the song that I started doing the breast stroke (and the back stroke shortly thereafter) on the stage to Sara Groves' song "Come Be Who You Are"--there' s a river in it (Guess you just had to be there)... One time Bets and I were on a road trip from Lebanon to Williamsburg and back, and I was driving (and was really tired, plus the fact that we'd been in the car together for way too long) and I tried to open a bottle of water while driving. Big mistake. When I opened the bottle, the cap fell in between the car door and the seat, and I started freaking out saying, "Well, that's awesome, I'm going to have to pour my water out now," etc. and other crazies like that.....It's really funny now, but Bets got mad at me and said, "You're not throwing the water away, I'll hold it, just give it to me! Just give it over here!" One time in college I was supposed to read a book and then ask discussion questions about it in an email to my professor (for a class called "Buddhism in East Asian Societies"), and well, you guessed it, I read the wrong book....the whole thing. The good thing is that my questions were so vague that my teacher gave me a B for them, so I think I fared pretty well considering the circumstances. When I was growing up, we had this humongo snow that left us without electricity for a few days, and Mom and Dad said we should just go to bed because it was so dark and we didn't have any light. I got so mad that I worked myself up into a frenzy and said, "I ain't goin' to no bed at no seven o'clock!" My family has definitely not forgotten that one. We all have great stories, but sometimes I let myself think that I'm not living a good story, but when I retell the stories, my hope is revived and I am reminded that life isn't a bundled up package with a red ribbon on top like the stories in movies. One of my major life goals was about going through elementary, middle and high school and going to college to get a degree. Well now that I've done this, I feel like I need another goal and I don't quite know what it is yet. So I don't feel like I'm living a meaningless life, it's just more different now than ever, and I know that God'll teach me to be patient in this transitional period of my life. Anyways, I felt really inspired by Don Miller's book because he emphasizes that you just really have to get out there and actually live your life rather than planning for your life that's getting ready start, like, after you get married or find the right job or move to the right town, etc. Thank you, Donald Miller.


bekah said...

good stuff. and i think i need to read it :] i have to be honest tho, blue like jazz just did not do anything for me. i'm a compulsive "read it till it's finished" sort of reader, and i've made 3 attempts at reading that book to no avail. weird, huh?

Traci Renee said...

Oh man. That book (A Million Miles In A Thousand Years) just keeps getting better to me. I'm on page 130 or so and I've gotten so many great things out of it!

P.S. - The Rents said Charlottesville was my kind of town. Sounds like a visit to me : )

Traci Renee said...

Hey. So, I'm totally not up to par on this whole blogging thing. I just saw your comments from October 20th, so this is the only way I know to reply to them. Haha.

I'm pretty bummed too that you cant make it to the "Grownup Hallelujah Night" It's going to be fun, but I'm sure there will be plenty of fun times in the future though.

Dustan and Betsy said...

Beks - you didn't honk? You're the biggest Elvis fan I know!

Still gotta get my hands on a copy. Must add to my wishlist.