Additional "I Dwell in Possibility" Articles


Good StoriesA Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Published: 5/10/2012 1:57:59 PM


I love a good story. Give me interesting characters I can believe in, a task for them to perform or a goal for them to fulfill, a little adventure, and perhaps just a touch of romance, and I’m hooked. If it’s a movie, give it a good soundtrack; if it’s a book, give it a great cover. Add to it some Deeper Meaning without being too preachy, and I’ll rave about the story to anyone who will listen. I love story in all its forms…books, movies, plays, musicals, TV shows, songs, and especially stories told while sitting around a campfire or a dinner table with friends. Tell me a good story, and I’ll be your friend for life.

Donald Miller, author of the best-selling book Blue Like Jazz has proven time and again that he is an excellent storyteller, and his latest book—A Million Miles in a Thousand Years—is no exception. Reading it feels like having a conversation with a best friend. It is at different times funny, heart-wrenching, moving, and sublime.

The book begins when two movie producers open a conversation with Miller about making a movie based on Blue Like Jazz. As they create a fictionalized version of his life for the movie, Miller learns about what makes a good story, and realizes that the same principles that make a good story also make a good life.

Good stories, he learns, are about characters who want something and overcome conflict to get it. In good stories, the character is transformed through the conflict. And in the best stories, the epic stories, the characters suffer, they overcome, and they sacrifice for the good of others. Throughout the book he builds on these principles and applies them to life to help readers live a better, more meaningful story. "If what we choose to do with our lives won’t make a story meaningful, it won’t make a life meaningful either,” he says in the opening to the book.

Along the way, he realizes that if life is a story, then God is our writer, and our lives have more meaning when we listen to and follow the voice of our writer. The story God wants to tell with our lives is better and deeper than the stories we can tell on our own.

I’ve been making up and writing stories since I was in fourth grade. I’ve studied writing and worked to hone my craft of writing. The elements of what makes a good story are familiar. And yet, I’ve never thought to apply those principles to my life in the way Miller has done in this book. He has made me look at my life and consider what kind of story my life is telling. I don’t necessarily want to ride a bike across the country, or hike the Inca Trail like Miller did, but I am keeping my eyes open for opportunities to live a more meaningful story.

Sherrah Holobaugh Behrens