It’s Your Story

MillionMilesCover3d_TransparentBkng_200Donald Miller’s new book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, reads like an auto-biographical, stream of consciousness sort of memoir. Several chapters in I found myself totally entertained but asking the question, what’s the point again? I need to know the point because I am a historian and historians are always reading for a thesis statement or a core argument to analyze and critique but then I read a book or have a conversation that reminds me that before history was an academic discipline it was a powerful story about life that people shared with each other. It was a story about identity, belonging and purpose. It was a story that said, “regardless of what may be happening to you right now, you are not alone and your life matters.” The reason that all history is a story is because, at its core, all history is biography. It’s your story and it’s my story.

Miller uses his story, his auto-biography, his history, to remind us that we have both an opportunity and a responsibility not to waste the story we have been given, not to give up when the dream dies again, not to settle for the mundane when the life we want to live demands more than we want to give. He defines a good story as “a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.” This is not another appeal to greater consumerism. It is a clarion call to greater investment, to make a real difference, to live life in a way that offers hope and transformation to others.

We all get to write one great history in this life, our own. Take a moment in the next week to reflect on your life and ponder these questions. Is there anything about this world and the people in it that when I see it or hear about it, I want to weep and pound the table? Are you willing to follow that passion and write those people into your story? We all like reading a great story or watching a great movie about a hero who continually overcomes great obstacles to ultimately accomplish something that truly matters, something worthy of historical note, something that changes the world for the good, but few of us want to live that story. The common theme found in the lives of great people is their willingness to persevere, to follow their passion, to face the conflict and live their story to the end.

We don’t get to decide whether our life was powerful, inspiring or memorable, that is for others to decide. But we do get to live it in a way that is true to who we are, offers hope to our world and refuses to be mediocre. It’s your story. Write the one you would want to read.

Comments are closed.