Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years is more than a book to me. It’s almost like a manual, a curriculum of instruction on how to live a meaningful life.
A friend recommended it to me many years and a lifetime ago, and although I’ve read it probably five or more times since then, I can’t say it’s ever really sunk in and really changed the way I live or think about life on a day-to-day basis.
I’d like this year to be different.
Miller’s book tells the story of how he moved from being bored and disillusioned with his life to living a life that’s meaningful and fulfilling. He got there by learning about the principles of story, and developing a theory that the same principles that make a story meaningful will also work to make a life meaningful.
A Million Miles is a collection of essays and thoughts woven around this theory and structured around Miller’s own discovery of his theory’s accuracy. As he explores the idea of what makes a life meaningful, he makes a number of observations that I believe are life-changing. Things like: you have to do something in order to have a story; no one wants to be living in a story, just to have lived one; and only certain types of ambition make for a good story. His anecdotes make me laugh out loud and also tear up at times, and his engaging style pulls the reader right into what he is saying.
This seems to be one of the book that, no matter how many times I read it, speaks to me loudly and in new ways every time. I’m starting to think I need to be more active in my listening.