Donald Miller’s teaching on life-as-story has been so good for me over the years. Stephen Lamb reviewed A Million Miles in a Thousand Years here in the Rabbit Room a little while ago, and the ideas in that book still come to mind on a regular basis. At some point almost every day I ask myself, “Am I living a good story?” Most of the time the answer is no. I’m working on it. But it doesn’t stop with asking myself about my own story. Stories intersect. Another word for that is relationship. And it is in relationship, kinship, and community that the Kingdom lives and breathes.
Here’s part of what Don wrote on his blog:
A story is a character that wants something and overcomes conflict to get it. So next time you meet somebody, delve into their story, not their job or the weather they experience where they live. To find out a person’s story, you have to find out what they want or have wanted in life, what conflict they endured in getting what they wanted, and what great moments of celebration they have experienced. Questions like this:
A CHARACTER THAT WANTS SOMETHING:
1. Why did you come to America?
2. What drives you?
3. What do you hope for for yourself and your family?
AND OVERCOMES CONFLICT:
1. That couldn’t have been an easy transition to America. What was the most shocking thing you endured?
2. Was that a lonely journey?
3. Did you ever think it wasn’t going to happen for you?
TO GET IT:
1. When did you realize you were happier than the average man?
2. If there could be a moment in the future when you’ll realize that you made it, what would that moment look like?
3. When the credits roll, what do you think is most important in life?
If you ask these questions, I promise, you will be entertained for the next hour. Not only will you hear stories, but you will watch as a person truly reflects on their life, and you’ll learn a great deal about what most people find important. You’ll be amazed that most people don’t really care about money or prestige, they care about love, about weddings and funerals, about children, about dignity and integrity.
Andrew Peterson is a singer-songwriter and author. Andrew has released more than ten records over the past twenty years, earning him a reputation for songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. As an author, Andrew’s books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga, released in collectible hardcover editions through Random House in 2020, and his creative memoir, Adorning the Dark, released in 2019 through B&H Publishing.