Creating great stories

In a nutshell, "A Million Miles In a Thousand Years" (AMMIaTY) is a book about Donald Miller working to turn his life into a great story. Early in the book he is contacted by two filmmakers to create a film about his life based on his book "Blue Like Jazz." So throughout AMMIaTY Don and two movie guys work on writing a script about Don's life. Don discovers that a movie is essentially a good story and that his life as it was would not create a good story...changes had to be made in order for it to be a good story--to make a good movie. He discovers "...if story is just life without the meaningless scenes--I wondered if life could be lived more like a good story in the first place. I wondered if whether a person could plan a story for his life and live it intentionally" (39). So as he writes, he discovers a little about what it takes for a story to be memorable and then transfers that to his life. As he starts living more deliberately in order to create a good story he meets fascinating and beautiful people along the way, hikes the Inca Trail, meets his father for the first time since his parents separated years ago, discovers old friendships, rides his bike across America, begins an organization called The Mentoring Project, etc. and then records his thoughts and experiences in this book.

AMMIaTY really set my mind in motion. I began thinking about my life and the story I'm telling. To tell you the truth, it's not very fascinating or fruitful. And I'm not just saying this to receive pity. I have not led a deliberate life for a long time. It seems that since I've grown older I've just gone through the motions...Don writes:

"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, God is slowly turning the lights on, and you're groggy and pointing at things saying circle and blue and car and 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 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 mountain, just another child being born, just another funeral" (58).

"If I have a hope, it's that God sat over the dark nothing and wrote you and me, specifically, into the story, and put us in with the sunset and the rainstorm as though to say, Enjoy your place in my story. The beauty of it means you matter, and you can create within it even as I have created you" (59).

Beautiful words, right? I guess what I'm trying to spit out is that I'm going to try hard to live life more deliberately. I'm going to play my guitar more, serve others more, read more, travel more, smile more, be more spontaneous. I'm going to try and acknowledge the gifts God has given me. I'm not doing all of this because some author who wrote a book is telling me to, but because I think this is what God wants His people to do with the lives He's given us. I don't have God figured out, but I do think He wants us to create memorable and great stories with our lives....and to do this, I need to make some changes in order to create a memorable story.

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