A few weeks ago, we had some friends over for dinner. The conversation turned towards living on purpose and being more intentional (some of my favorite topics)...then towards tidying up and living clutterfree. How we made that conversational jump, I don’t know...but alas...
As we were explaining to our friends Tyler and Chelsea about this book we’d picked up that helped us get rid of clutter and tidy up some spaces, Chelsea began to scan our bookshelf. As she was scanning the shelf of unread books, she spots Don’s book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, and pulls it off the shelf.
“This is an unread book, right?” Chelsea said.
“Yep...” I replied.
Chelsea walks over, hands me the book and says, “Then this is the next book you should read...”
I sat there, with the slightest bit of arrogance...who is she to tell me what to read next? BUT, I agreed. I needed a break from the very heady, weighty, academic book I was halfway through anyway. I wanted something light.
“Light” was the farthest characteristic from this book.
It took me a week to finish the book. I couldn’t put it down. I was sucked in to his story because I felt like, to a certain degree, his story was also MY story.
And I believe Don’s story is probably very stimilar to your story as well.
Donald Miller wrote a wildly successful book called, Blue Like Jazz. But after that...his life stalled. He wasn’t doing much with his life. He was mostly sedentary. He had no purpose or vision. Until someone decided they wanted to make a movie out of his life.
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years is Don’s story of discovering what makes a good story. Not just in movies, books, or music...but in life.
You see, I want to write a good story for my life. I want my life to mean something. To matter. To make a difference.
But here’s the thing...good stories don’t happen by accident. They are formulated, designed, and acted upon.
Honestly, I feel like my wife and I have made a pretty good story so far. We’ve done some crazy things. We helped co-found a grassroots organization that raised awareness and funds to help rescue girls from sex trafficking. We travelled all over India as part of the filming process for our documentary about the topic.
Several years later we flew to Amsterdam to help some friends of ours, James and Shannon Doherty, with their non-profit, Dignata. We shot photos and video for a couple of weeks and helped create some marketing collateral and promo material for their brand so that they could get the message out that they were providing employment and aftercare for those that wanted out of prostitution.
If we can help friends of ours that have a financial need, we do our best to figure out if it’s viable for us to give towards those needs. We’ve helped pay for cars, dental bills, and other random things.
I’m not saying this to brag. My ultimate goal is that you’d be inspired to live a better story than you are now.
But even with all those incredible experiences in our short past, it’s still possible to become sedentary. To lose sight of what our story should be about. To forget that we are most alive and fulfilled when we are serving others.
It would be easy to sit here and bask in the “glory days.” Like the guy in his mid-forties still bragging about his high school football team who should've won the state championship. Nobody likes that guy.
I don’t want to be that guy.
I want to continue to live a good story.
I want to continue serving others and making a difference.
I want to continually say of new experiences, “Wow! Can you believe we did that?!”
I want my children to be inspired to live an exciting and meaningful life. Not for the sake of being exciting, but for the sake of creating meaningful and memorable experiences for those around them.
What I’m trying to say is, don’t get so bogged down in the minutae of today’s details that you forget that there’s something bigger going on. There’s a bigger story taking place.
And you get to be a part of it.