I did it. I finished the book. Turned the last page, closed the book- set it down on the nightstand-turned out the light-aaaaaaand then couldn’t fall asleep. My heart hurt. What I mean is that it wasn’t like I was having a heart attack because it was so freaking exciting but more like I wasn’t sure how to respond and my heart, well, it ached. I think it made me sad. I was hoping for some sort of resolution,a conviction of truth, and what I got was reality. Sure, yeah, reality is a form of truth but somehow it wasn’t what I was hoping for so when I reached the last period I was left feeling a bit adrift.
I think, perhaps, I shouldn’t have read it all the way through. The challenge I felt at the beginning stayed with me as long as the book remained unfinished. It was my companion- that friend who pushes you to try something you hadn’t before-that ‘go ahead-you know you wanna’ kind of friend. Or, perhaps, I need to revisit it and see if there was something I missed, that detail that I overlooked that would lift me to that place again. Or, maybe it has more to do with me. I read all about what Donald Miller did to bring himself into his story-but it was HIS story not mine. What do I need to do about my story?
I am a master of deflection. I have cultivated a garden filled with deferred dreams and desires. I love to go there but usually leave empty handed allowing the fruit to wither and die. Once in a while I pick something small to take with me-convincing myself that I am happy with just enough to get by. Don’t want to be greedy now do we-that would not be good. Besides, there are other gardens to tend-fruit to deliver to others. Celebrations to plan for, parties to throw, encouragement to give…other’s dreams to support. It wouldn’t do to pursue my own desires because that is selfish-right? Besides-the family needs dinner.
Not to get all sour grapes on you but a little party once in a while would be nice-one I didn’t have to plan for, cook for, do for (it is no fun to plan your own celebration-it means no one else cared enough to do it for you)-one where I could let go like a bouquet of helium balloons and enjoy being me.
OK, so maybe A Million Miles in a Thousand Years didn’t solve all my issues-I get the feeling it wasn’t meant to. I think-and I could be wrong here-that it was meant to take you to that place where you needed to go-that empty place that only you can access. I appreciated the honesty of Miller’s admission that Christ didn’t necessarily fill that void he felt. We are told over an over that there is a God shaped void in our lives and that once we invite him in we will be whole-that somehow everything will fall into place. (Side note-I loved his idea about Paul pitching conversion on an infomercial-even people who buy everything wouldn’t buy what he was selling!!) Christianity has become glazed like a Krispy Kreme donut and frequently takes on the consistency of one too-you buy it-eat it and instantly you want more. Mostly because it is light as air and has no substance to it-you can’t get full on it and end up feeling sick after you have stuffed yourself. So yeah, that emptiness-it is something no “good” Christian should admit but something that is real.
Oh, (huff and stamp foot here) I just hate it when I learn something I wasn’t intending to learn! All I wanted was a party-I wanted to have fun. I wanted to feel like I had wings and could do anything I set my mind to. Damn. Sorry-Darn. So, Miller made me think-made me push past the brush in the garden-past the stuff that is easy to pick and made me look at that massive pumpkin (baby, this is an award winning sucker that would take the blue ribbon at any state fair) that I have let alone for a while. I guess now all I need to figure out is what to do with it. Thanks a lot. No. I mean it-Thank you…
Aug. 8, 2010— I don’t usually go back into a post but I felt I needed to add an addendum to this one. Someone asked me if I would recommend this book based on how I felt when I finished reading it-I thought about it for about a nano-second and answered with a strong “absolutely!” I am a proponent of of facing difficult challenges-and challenges such as A Million Miles in a Thousand Years are exactly the kind worth facing. This book has staying power-for someone like me (with the attention span of a fidgety nuthatch at times) to carry this puppy around, refer to it, write about it AND loose sleep over-there has to be something more to it than paper pulp pages and ink. So, yes. I would recommend A Million Miles in a Thousand Years-but only if you have the ca-hones to take from it what it has to offer.