Sunday, October 4, 2009

Book Review: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

It always seem like Donald Miller's writing are tailored for me as life progresses. His previous works include the best-selling Blue Like Jazz & Searching for God Knows What. While expressing non-religious thoughts on religion has been his bread and butter for the last few years, this new book seeks to enhance one part of our lives which often goes unnoticed and undeveloped: Story.

Not wanting to give just a synopsis and thus ruining this reading experience for others, I can tell you that this book is definitely worth the price you pay for it. Perhaps Rob Bell says it best in describing this work as "disturbing." It's not made to make you feel warm and fuzzy, but instead rather introspective and contemplative. Basically, this book causes Miller (and the reader) to reexamine their own lives in the context of writing a story.

Of course, you cannot start the story of your life when you are in the middle of living it. Instead, Miller challenges himself and the reader to see how their stories have developed so far, the challenges and antagonists as well as the encouraging moments and the protagonists that we come across during life.

If anything is the object of ire in this book, it is the notion of complacency. I remember reading in a devotional excerpt from C.S. Lewis where he describes the notion of stagnancy in the life of a person, comparing it to that of an egg. For Lewis, a person cannot fully be "alive" and "complacent" at the same time. In going on with his metaphor with the egg, he states that an egg cannot simply remain an egg, for it must either hatch into a chicken or go bad and rot.

In many ways, Miller proposes the same thing. The challenging and uncomfortable life is the life worth living. Citing his and others examples of the struggles of mundane existence being transformed by challenging circumstances, the reader feels an upsurge of ambition rising in their veins with each paragraph they read.

When all hope seems lost, that is when you simply turn a page in life. Who says you can't begin writing a new chapter when you finish reading this sentence?