A friend of mine, Ryan, gave me this amazing book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, by Donald Miller. I encourage everyone to read it.
Million Miles is about what it’s like to edit down your life to the interesting parts. Donald wrote his memoir and in the process he had to cut out a lot of his life. If you write a memoir, hopefully you want people to read it. So it needs to be compelling. It needs to be a good STORY. That means all the boring stuff needs to come out. Editing your life. Yikes. What a strange experience deleting big parts of your life that people wouldn’t think is interesting.
What it led Don to realize was that we can write The Story of Our Life in the present and make our lives truly remarkable right now, not so people will want to read about it, but so we will live amazing lives.
There is a chapter early on in this book about Don listening to a friend (Jason), as his friend is telling him about the trouble he’s having with his teenage daughter. Jason and his wife found pot in her room. She was hanging out with the wrong crowd and the wrong guy. The whole thing was devastating to Jason and his wife.
So Don starts telling his friend about the concept of Story. Telling Jason about his experience editing his life story and realizing we can all create wonderful stories in our lives in the present moment. Then he said, “Your daughter is living a terrible story. She’s writing a story where there is risk and adventure with pot and crazy boyfriends” which made Jason realize he hadn’t mapped out a great story for his family so his daughter had chosen one for herself. The best story available to her.
Don’s friend kind of went a little crazy after that as most of us would define crazy. He did what I think is amazing. He took a $25,000 second mortgage out on their house (he definitely should have talked to his wife first!) and paid for an orphanage to be built in Mexico that they were also going to help build. It transformed the family. Jason had had the realization that not only was he not taking risks, but they weren’t helping anybody. His daughter was totally into it, wanted desperately to go to Mexico to take pictures of the orphanage and children to post on her website and inspire people back home to help. She dumped her boyfriend. Their lives changed dramatically for the better.
I am so inspired by how this dad changed the story of his family’s life and by how he saved his daughter. The chapter is called, “How Jason Saved His Family.”
This whole concept of story has made me think how Nan and I can change our story. Nan is thinking too. What can we do to give back? All of us can change the Story of Our Lives at any moment. Why haven’t we built an orphanage? If we do something crazy soon at least you wont be surprised.