NOTE: Yes, this looks different than my normal blogs. It’s a book review. You’ll see them pop up from time to time. Enjoy. And if it moves you, read.
“I feel written.”
The story slowly unfolds, like a lazy morning. Like life, actually.
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years is a story about stories – about the distinct moments of life we so often take for granted that define and refine us. It’s a story about life, and whether that life will be memorable or meaningless. Written as a meandering walk through his own experience of transforming his life story into a movie, Miller captures the essence of our own walks through the day-to-day as we stumble to find purpose.
Miller’s voice is as comfortable as back porch conversation during a rain shower, yet provides moments that, like a sudden thunderclap, shake the ground – and a person’s core. “People love to have lived a good life,” he shares, and we all nod in agreement. “But few people like the work it takes to make it happen. Joy costs pain.” A distant rumble sounds.
Miller is a word painter, but not like the imagery painted by Max Lucado or other more mainstream authors. Rather, he washes words with familiarity and humor and self-deprecation. When he references the movie Rocky, it’s easy to envision the beautiful frailty of the main character long before he became a hero. When he writes about his failed efforts to write a fiction novel, the struggle between author and character come to life. He writes of ambition and wrong turns and dishwashing liquid and bicycles and how pain makes a story rich and full.
Perhaps this book resonates with me in a unique way because of words spoken only recently to a group of teenage girls in an orphanage in Guatemala. They had heard my personal testimony of sexual and physical abuse, and cried as they saw the story as their own. Yet the story didn’t end. The girls listened intently as the story moved to redemption and restoration – of a loving husband and a family and an adventurous life ministering to orphans just like them. “Each of you is a book, waiting to be written. The question is, who will hold the pen and craft the words of your life? You can attempt to write your story. Or you can give that pen to the One who knows the life you were created to live. When God takes that pen, your story is forever changed. You are given hope that does not disappoint.”
“The truth is, we are all living out the character of the roles we have played in our stories.” In his latest book, Miller shares a depth of character found only in living life fully. And he challenges us to do the same. Take the time to sit and listen – to both the conversation and the distant rumble.