I feel in love with and was deeply wrecked by this book.
What Donald Miller has captured in it is something that has just placed it on my must read list for everyone (and that's a very short list in my world).... In fact, if I could have given one book to every graduating senior in our ministry, I would have given them this book.
I could go on for hours, but basically, the message on these pages rocked my world even more than when I heard Donald speak about this book at a conference I attended last September. It inspired my heart. I cried. I laughed out loud a few times. It messed with me on a level that has me up at 2am writing about it.
Without stealing the thunder of the book, let me simply say that it is a story about story. It is about what makes a good story and how my life and your life are often robbed of greatness when we create a boring story and a pointless plot. This book scared me: mostly because I don't want to live the life it warns most are. It scares me because more days than I'd like to admit, I think I make choices that move me out of the dynamic story God has for me and into a much more predictable and pointless one.
Here's a few quotes and my musings that I'll be stewing on for quite some time.
"The truth is, if what we choose to do with our lives won't make a story meaningful, it won't make a life meaningful either."
- in other words... if someone followed me around with a "reality tv camera crew" or a book script writing team, how much editing and creative license would they have to employ to get anyone to watch/read it? If I am living a life that is so predictable and mundane and risk-free that the audience would flip the channel or put down the book, then maybe something is wrong.... or at the very least, seriously lacking in my life.
"People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen. But joy costs pain."
- this is super true. Most "boring life stories" are cuz we are too scared to live the really fulfilling one. Real stories require sacrifice, often more sacrifice than I'm willing to make. It's waaaaay too easy in our world to kick life into neutral. I need to risk more if I'm going to gain more. There is no easy way out of that reality.
"Robert McKee says humans naturally seek comfort and stability. Without an inciting incident that disrupts their story, they won't enter into a story. They have to get fired from their job or be forced to sign up for a marathon. A ring has to be purchased. A home has be sold. The character has to jump into the story, into discomfort and the fear, otherwise the story will never happen."
- if there was a part of this book I wanted to rip out, it was this section. I hate that this is true. I hate that most of the time, I'll opt out of the better life for the safer life. I also hate that it often requires the discomfort of an inciting incident in my life to get me to choose the better life. I hate that pain moves me more than joy. I hate that I let peace become comfort become complacency and then I settle into a life that only pain can jolt me out of. Dang it. I want to choose to jump into the inciting incidents in my life instead of waiting for God or life or whatever to throw me into them.
"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."
- noodle on that phrase for a while: "the forgettable thread of wasted time" I want to sew a patchwork quilt of life experiences tied together by the meaningful risk of a faith-filled life, not a forgettable thread of monotony.
"You become like the people you interact with. And if your friends are living boring stories, you probably will too."
- this resonated with me. I want to spend my time around people whose lifestyle inspires me to be intentional about living a life of significance. I want to do life different with people who want to do life different. I want to inspire people who inspire me.
One final note, as I turned the pages of this book, I kept thinking.. I really want to try and meet Donald Miller and maybe even Bob Goff, the San Diego/Ugandan lawyer whose story makes up some of the pages if I can figure out how to do either of those things. I really really want to do both of those things if for no other reason just to say thank you: thank you for living and writing like you are. Dang this book blessed me.