Donald Miller demonstrates his remarkably ability to tell a story in his latest book, “A Million Miles In a Thousand Years.” In the opening pages I found myself laughing out loud and tweeting excerpts. He begins to weave a tale about being contact by movie producers who want to film a movie based on his memoir, “Blue Like Jazz.” There are numerous light-hearted descriptions about the developing friendship between Miller and these two guys from Nashville. Along the way the book becomes a story about stories. Stories about Miller’s life. Stories about others.
Perhaps the most compelling stories in “A Million Miles” are those that reveal the heart of Donald Miller. His decision to search for his father after more than 30 years without contact. His private “wrestling with God” scene in a hotel room before he goes out to speak at a conference. And his journeys along Canadian inlets, Ande’s mountain peaks, and America’s highways. Not too far below the surface of these stories of Miller’s is a plea to his readers to begin living their stories – one scene at a time.
“A Thousand Miles” is at times hilarious. Of Nietzsche he write: “He’s the Justin Timberlake of depressed Germans,and there are a lot of depressed Germans.” (p. 247)
At times it is very inspirational. “In the Jervis inlet, the stone faces of the mountains come into the water like walls. You paddle down the mile-wide inlet with cliffs on either side,and the trees are lined up atop the cliffs like guardians of all the beauty.” (p. 158)
And at other times – poignant. “The pain made the city more beautiful. The story made us different characters than if we’d showed up at the ending an easier way. It made me think about the hard lives so people have had, the sacrifices they’ve endured, and how those people will see heaven differently from those of us who have had easier lives.” (p. 143)
You will be challenged by this unique man and his unique book to examine your own life and to begin writing a better story. “We live in a world where had stories are told, stories that teach us life doesn’t mean anything ands that humanity has no great purpose. It’s a good calling,then, to speak a better story. How brightly a better story shines. How easily the world looks to it in wonder. How grateful we are to hear these stories,and how happy it makes us to repeat them.” (p. 248)