Donny's Ramblings

Write a Better Story, Live a Better Story


This post was written September 12th.  I couldn’t post it until today because it contains my review, of sorts, of Donald Miller’s latest book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, and we (“we” being the bloggers given advance copies) were not supposed to release our reviews until today.  This is cross-posted on both this blog as well as in a note on my Facebook page.  Feel free to comment at either (or both) location(s).

Late Thursday night I finally opened the package I’d received from Thomas Nelson earlier in the day.  Had I known what was inside I wouldn’t have waited so long.  For some reason I’d been sent two copies of Donald Miller’s latest book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.  I started reading, but stopped long enough to text Don, telling him I was reading his book.  He had no idea why I was sent two copies either, but offered to send yet another one if I wanted it.  Of course I want it!  I’ve a few people in mind to send the two extra copies, but I’ll keep the one Don sends, especially if he autographs the inside.  It was late, and I had an early flight to catch, so I put the book down, deciding to instead read it on my flight to Indiana to speak with part of the XXXChurch team at Purdue University.

Donny Pauling, Meet Donald Miller

Donny Pauling, Meet Donald Miller

Friday morning started… interestingly.  My flight was delayed more than two and a half hours, creating a scheduled arrival time that would put me at the university an hour after I was scheduled to speak.  That wouldn’t work.  I explained the situation to a very helpful Alaskan Airlines employee, who was kind enough to put me on another flight with another airline – United – the only catch being I’d have to drive more than two hours south to Sacramento to catch it.  My efforts would be rewarded: if nothing else went wrong I’d arrive at Purdue just 10 minutes after the time I was scheduled to take the stage.  Much better – the band could easily play a couple of extra songs and the crowd would never know the difference.

Finally on my way to Indy, I cracked open Million again.  I read it all the way to my connecting flight in Denver, often laughing out loud, likely making my seat companions wonder if I was mentally unstable.  If you’ve read one of Don’s books I’m sure you can identify: the man is funny and can tell a story! This one really amused me:  it’s inspired by Don being told his life is just too boring to make a movie out of.

I only read for a few minutes after leaving Denver for Indianapolis.  I needed to catch a nap so I’d be sharp enough to speak to the thousand plus college students expected to attend Friday Night’s Porn and Popcorn event.  I put the book in my bag in a revered, sacred place: the pouch occupied by my beloved MacBook Pro and Kindle DX.   Don’s latest would have to wait until the return flight…

…which was also delayed more than two hours, getting me into Chicago an hour after my next flight left, but not before Don’s pen reduced me to tears in front of my fellow passengers on the Indy to Chi town stretch.  While taxiing to the gate in Chicago I texted Don to harass him for this.  “Wow.  That wasn’t intended I assure you!!” was his response.

Once in Chicago, and after more than an hour standing in a customer service line to be rebooked, I learned I’d have to spend the night at O’Hare and settle for a 10:40am departure the next morning.  I had a decision to make: I could go postal like the lady standing behind me, or I could accept my fate and see this as an opportunity to finish the book and perhaps experience what it’s like to sleep on the floor of one of those family bathrooms – you know, the kind that lock and give you the stall all to yourself? While I don’t think that’s any part of the kind of “better story” talked about throughout Don’s book, I decided it’d be much better than the heart attack Ms. Postal was about to give herself.

Probably because of the smile I kept on my face as Mt. Saint Helens erupted yet again behind me, the United Airlines Customer Service Rep gave me a standby ticket for a flight that wasn’t mentioned earlier.  It was very full and the odds were just about zilch that I’d actually catch it, but with two hours to kill before knowing the answer for sure, I took the ticket, found a family bathroom, plugged in my iPhone to charge, and relaxed a little.  I couldn’t get comfortable enough to feel like reading, but the hour and a half spent in that solitary space was still a great escape from the noise of an insanely busy terminal, and I only felt a little guilty when the handle was wiggled a time or two by people who probably actually needed to use the facilities for the purpose they were intended.

Divine intervention must have opened heaven, earth, and a few seats on the 8:16pm flight to Sacramento, because my name was called – and I got a window seat.  In another miracle rivaling that time the USA won the gold in hockey against the Russians, the seat in between me and the other guy in my row remained empty after the doors closed and boarding ended.  With the extra space to stretch my legs, I was soon comfortably finishing A Million Miles in a Thousand Years…which brings me to the present, where I still sit on that same plane hurtling towards Sacra-tomato at 500 miles an hour, writing to you, my constant readers.

I gotta tell ya:  I honestly don’t know how to write the review this book deserves.   Don tells a story – his story – yet somehow his story challenges the reader to go out and live a better version of their own life story.  He does this in a way I can’t put into the right words to make you understand how special a gift you’ll be giving yourself when you pick up a copy.  He just does it… Donald Miller style.  Just buy it! Then come back and tell me if I’m the only grown adult it moves to publicly laugh and cry, unconcerned about those sitting nearby.

4 thoughts on “Write a Better Story, Live a Better Story

  1. It does an old former porno addict. Welcome To The Winning Team!

  2. It does an old former porno addict. Welcome To The Winning Team!

  3. Have to agree. A mere “review” won’t do it justice.

    You just have to go read it. NOW!

  4. Have to agree. A mere “review” won’t do it justice.

    You just have to go read it. NOW!

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