Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My ONE Question for Donald Miller

As I write this, I am sitting back at home.  Like, my parent’s home.  As you can imagine there are several negatives that come from this; none higher than personal guilt and frustration.  Oh, and that all of my friends around this part of town are married and have kids.

On the other hand, getting free rent, my own room, almost no food expenses, and great roommates (see also: parents) who are so awesome and know when to leave me alone, make this a very, very easy decision.

Additionally, I am immensely close to my alma mater.  Anyone who knows me, know that I love Wheaton College.  I absolutely loved my time there and continue to appreciate the lives Wheaton impacts and the things that go on at the campus.

This past Sunday night I was excited to learn that Donald Miller would be speaking in Edman Chapel.  I called up a good friend from my class that lives in the area and we headed over.  There was a good size crowd of students and I couldn’t help but feel like they all looked to young.  Am I seriously thinking that? 

Miller, an incredibly talented writer and communicator, is also a fantastic politician.  He was up and walking around; all smiles shaking hands and saying hello.  I was amazed.  How many of these has he done?  How many people has he talked to?  How many hours of sleep is he even working on?  I stopped and talked to him for a second.  I thanked him for coming, then proceeded to ask him about snow.  Yeah, I’m a moron.  I was a bit star-struck.

When he began speaking he was far funnier than I imagined.  As I read Miller’s books I picture a pensive man smoking a pipe and drinking scotch as he types away at the computer.  I wasn’t disappointed at all, just surprised.  A good portion of what he addressed was from his latest book, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.”  I highly, highly, highly recommend the book. 

His thesis is seemingly that we were meant to live great stories.  As someone who loves great stories in all facets (telling, listening, watching, reading) I deeply resonated with what Miller had to say.  As he spoke that night more specifically about what a great story might look like, he answered the question so many of my peers struggle to engage let alone answer:

So what exactly am I supposed to do?

His response was great.  Not un thought of before, but very original to the majority of students who sat in the seats because their parents wanted them to look at Wheaton and because a career choice has already been made for them.

He told the crowd, “I think you should do whatever you want.” 

The ideal is remarkable, right?  God just wants to do things with us.  If we want to be a teacher, awesome.  Go do it!  A lawyer?  Fantastic!  You name it, Git R Done!

Unfortunately that leaves me with a HUGE question.  One that has been more or less ripping me apart for a little while now:

What if you aren’t ‘good’ enough to do what you want?

Since I have been about 4, the idea of being able to play a sport for a job is all I have wanted to do.  Never wanted to go to the moon.  Didn’t want to put out fires.  Thought big trucks and trains were kinda stupid. 

For those of you that know me, you know I have chased this desire heavily since graduating college.  Now, I was able to have some success in that area, but not the kind that really pays the bills.

Not the kind that quenches dreams.

So there’s my question, Donald Miller.  Now what?  And I don’t mean it in an arrogant, “You got me into this” kind of way.  I mean it in true sincerity, because I don’t think I am the only one.  I have friends unable to get into med school.  Still others unable to get pregnant.  Too many genuine, healthy desires go left anything but realized or satisfied.

The reality is, maybe I don’t even know my own dream (Psalm 37:4).

Maybe real, actual dreams aren’t realized this side of Heaven.

Maybe it’s supposed to be that way.

To be honest, I just don’t know.  So Donald, if you do read this, what do ya think?  And you, causal reader, if you’ve gotten this far, what do you think?


Mike Shearon said...

Stories are great. The good ones don't always end the way we want them to but along the way something is learned or someone grows. Friday Night Lights is my favorite sports movie. Lots of great examples in that.

There are many time in my life i wish things had gone different. I wish my teams won a national Championship. I wish i had a different job etc... but if those things happened then some of the things i love about my life (story) would not have happened. Like sharing God lessons with other athletes that are struggling with the same things as me.

Our western view of success is not always helpful in evaluating our life (story).

Sorry if i went to long.

Grace and Peace

Matt Siami said...

Ryan - I love your passion and your heart and I want to affirm that you sound like you are 'onto your story'. You are onto God's plans for your life, and as we know these are AWESOME plans. My thought to you is not meant to be funny, but I will say it, 'GET SOME'. You know what I mean. Go get you some, however you can. You hit a wall, so what, see if God will knock it down for you. You get lost, ask Him for a new path. Only you and our Maker can tell if you are where you should be, and many times we don't see it until later (20/20 cliche). However, I would agree with a lot of what Donald has said before; your story is a great one when it constantly takes you to the foot of the cross. That is where God wants us most. In the meantime I say, use your strengths, talents, and gifts to do what you love and what you get joy out of, and 'Get Some' any way you can.

Thank you for your words, reading this was a gift for me.