Thursday, December 10, 2009

our stories

Our book group has been reading A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller's new book. Cory and I have been really inspired by it, and after I read a little I can't get it out of my head. Very simply put, it's about living a better story. I wanted to share an excerpt from the book that keeps bouncing around my brain. I keep going back to it because it rings so true.

He's talking about how through a series of events he ends up hiking the Inca trail in Peru. The trail is an "excruciating" hike, climbing up a 14,000 ft. peak, then down, then back up to 12,000, then back down toward Machu Picchu. I'm picking up the story toward the end of the hike:

"We didn't hike to the Sun Gate the next morning; we ran. We ran on blistered feet and sore legs. We got there, and it was fogged in, so we sat along the rock, on the ruins, and waited for the fog to burn off. We sat and sang songs. And it was like Carlos said, because you can take a bus to Machu Picchu; you can take a train and then a bus, and you can hike a mile to the Sun Gate. But the people who took the bus didn't experience the city as we experienced the city. The pain made the city more beautiful. The story made us different characters than we would have been if we had skipped the story and showed up at the ending an easier way.

"We walked among the ruins in the fog all morning, in the footsteps of the Inca's. We ran our fingers along the perfectly sculptured rock used to create the walls of their dwellings, rocks cut square to sit on rocks cut square, all built without mortar.

"It wasn't only the pain of the trail that made you appreciate the city; it was the pain of the landscape, steep in the mountains of the Andes, spiraled towers of natural rock, cliffs dropping for a thousand feet to the river. And the houses, the weight of them and the perfection of their lines, spoke of the many dead Incas who gave their lives to build the city.

"The pain made the city more beautiful. The story made us different characters than if we'd showed up at the ending an easier way. It made me think about the hard lives so many people have had, the sacrifices they've endured, and how those people will see heaven differently from those of us who have had easier lives."

It reminds me that pain has a purpose.
It reminds me that I'm one of "those...who have had eaiser lives."
It reminds me that, no matter the difficulties, I don't want to skip the story.