The question that permeates the pages is, "What kind of story are you writing with your life?". In his usual amusing and thought-provoking manner, Miller challenges the reader to live more than just a boring life focused on comfort, but rather to embrace difficulty and conflict and to write a life story bigger than one's self.
The book spoke specifically into my life as I prepare to bring a new life into this world. One of the quotes I loved was the following:
As I've said before, the main way we learn story is not through movies or books; it's through each other. You become like the people you interact with. And if your friends are living boring stories, you probably will too. We teach our children good and bad stories, what is worth living for and what is worth dying for, what is worth pursuing, and the dignity with which a character engages his own narrative.
Whether baby Hastings likes it or not, it's getting thrown into the middle of my story, a story that will drastically affect this little baby for better or for worse. And while I am well aware that an aspiration of perfection is delusional, it has at least caused me to critically think about the "WHY" of my story, rather than just the "what".
So, thoughts such as the following have floated in my head over the past few days...
- Why do I shy away from conflict and confrontation?
- Why do I spend my free time mindlessly reading news articles on the computer (or on Facebook)?
- Why do I get so worried about making people upset? Why am I a people pleaser?
- Why do I worry the way I do?
- Why do I refuse to engage with certain emotions that I feel?
And so while I've learned to live pretty comfortably with these realities (many years of practice), baby Hastings is a blank slate. And when baby Hastings watches how I react in a conflict, it will learn from me. When it watches how I spend my free time, it will follow suit. When it watches me worry...well, you see where I'm going with this.
Like I said earlier, it's the "why" rather than the "what" that I've been mulling over. I'm not as concerned with what exciting things I'm doing or what adventures I experience, but rather why I interact with life the way I do, regardless of circumstances.
So, there you go. If you want thought-provoking, easy reading, then take a couple days to chew on A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. Whether your in a situation like me, about to move into completely uncharted territory, or if you're in a season of consistency and stability, this book is one that will challenge you to live for something bigger than your own personal comfort.