“And once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can’t go back to being normal; you can’t go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time.”
If I’ve talked to you in person, I’ve probably “book dropped”. And if I haven’t yet, I will. It was that good. I haven’t had a book hit me the way Contemporary Christian writer Donald Miller’s newest book “A million miles in a thousand years” did. Now, don’t let “Contemporary Christian” frighten anyone away. The message can still be transformative even if one does not believe or have faith in God.
The story is based off of the author’s experience in editing his life as he made his best selling book “Blue Like Jazz” into a movie script. In doing so, he noticed the parallel between one’s life experience and the development of a story.
“..[My friend Marco said]. essentially, humans are alive for the purpose of journey, a kind of three-act structure. They are born and spend several years discovering themselves and the world, then plod through a long middle in which they are compelled to search for a mate and reproduce and also create stability out of natural instability and then they find themselves at an ending tha seems to be designed for reflection. At the end, their bodies are slower, they are not as easily distracted, they do less work, and they think and feel about a life lived rather than look forward to a life getting started. He didn’t know what the point of the journey was, but he did believe we were designed to search for and find something. And he wondered out loud if the point wasn’t the search but the transformation the search creates. …[I wondered] that we were designed to live through something rather than to attain something, and the thing we were meant to live through was designed to change us. The point of a story is the character arc, the change.” – Donald Miller
This was one of the first books that a friend of mine and I picked to reflect upon while reading. It has been awhile since I had had to “take notes” while reading, probably a couple of years. And let me tell you…it felt good to stop, reflect, and continue. I wrote down ideas and tough questions to answer, new perspectives to live by, and new actions to uphold.
As a teacher, I am always more conscious of what my students are learning. It becomes difficult to step back and ask the question “What am I learning?” Yes, a tremendous part of my day is spent asking “how could that have gone better?” in my classroom with my students, but the type of learning I am talking about is this transformation, or change, that the author above was quoting. I get sucked into the day in and out and after months, when I feel my head gets above water, I realize that there is nothing personally that has developed. My students have learned (fingers crossed), but have I?
Happy Thanksgiving to all! I decided to stay in California for this holiday and am spending the day with friends, new and old.