"You Can’t Build An End Scene As Beautiful As This By Sitting On A Couch"
This week, I’m sharing my favorite ideas from “A Million Miles In A Thousand Years”, an amazing book by Donald Miller. It’s a non-fiction book that speaks to how we should think of our lives as stories to be lived, making them more meaningful in terms of how we live it, and how we (and others) will remember ourselves as we grow older and when we eventually leave. This is Day 3.
“Later, at around two in the morning, when there were only a few dozen people left at their house, I looked across the deck at Steve and Ben sitting and talking to Jim, and as they laughed and drank their wine, I wondered how much it costs to be rich in friends and how many years and stories and scenes it takes to make a rich life happen. You can’t build an end scene as beautiful as this by sitting on a couch.”
The scene above takes place at Jim’s house, after the funeral of Jim’s wife. Many friends and family had come together to celebrate her life and it turned out to be an occasion for not only remembrance but also celebration. It is one of the high points of the book, probably the most beautiful.
For me, it represents one of the central ideas about the lives we choose to live.
We’re so focused on our achievements that we lose sight of our experience, not simply our own, but our collective experience. That our lives aren’t made up of what we do ourselves only, but they involve others, and their involvement is as instrumental to our well being, our success and our happiness as what we ourselves do. This is the collective experience.
The other truth is that this requires work and effort on our part. You can’t build an end scene as beautiful as this by sitting on a couch. This suggests intention, commitment, and doing. These types of stories will not simply happen. They require us to take charge, to do.
These types of stories are made to happen, by ourselves, for sure, but with an openness, a basis of inclusivity, with others.
This is the collective experience.