“…the same elements that make a movie meaningful are the ones that make a life meaningful. I knew a character had to face his greatest fears. “…the same elements that make a movie meaningful are the ones that make a life meaningful. I knew a character had to face his greatest fears. That’s the stuff of good story…
…most of our greatest fears are relational. It’s all that stuff about forgiveness and risking rejection and learning to love. We think stories are about getting money and security, but the truth is, it all comes down to relationship. I tried not to think about that stuff, but I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I knew a story was calling me. I knew I was going to have to see if my father was alive. And once you know what it takes to live a better story, you don’t have a choice. Not living a better story would be like deciding to die, deciding to walk around numb until you die, and it’s not natural to want to die.”
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
I’ve been continuing to slowly read through Miller’s book…looking at “story”, and it’s role in our lives. The above paragraph hits me square between the eyes…it’s a powerful one. I’m not the only one who thinks so…I’m reading it on Kindle, and 214 other people have highlighted the above section in the book.
Sometimes, when I read something, I feel “understood” by the book…like it’s said something I think or feel, but says it clearer than I’ve ever been able to think it…but when I read it, I feel like it says something that’s powerful and important, and says it better than I could have said it…although even though I haven’t said it exactly like this, it actually is something I’ve been thinking. Have I made any sense at all on this to you? ☺
So, anyways, having been a counsellor for years, and watched people struggle and triumph, argue and reconcile, take risks and feel the rewards…it feels “true”.
For example, a client will come asking for help in a particular area, say for help in not being jealous about a girlfriend’s contact with males…and we work on that area…and as we do so, growth in that area spurs on thoughts and feelings of discouragement and frustrations–and opportunity–in other areas. And a client will find themselves “walking taller” in general, or feeling “like the world is a warmer place”, having greater confidence at the workplace, and being more assertive with store clerks in ways which generate smiles and friendliness. People find themselves invited to a better story, and feel a compulsion to walk into that story, and are the richer for it. It’s risky, because it means facing “relational” fears…but the payoffs from one area make it worthwhile to try in another.
Being a counselor watching people take these risks and enjoy the fruits of entering better stories is one of the unspeakable holy perks of my role here in ways that are awe-inspiring and humbling. They challenge me to be a part of a better story too…and because I then learn, as Miller speaks of, what the better story looks like, and what it is and how it feels, I’m called out of any relational complacency I might be in…being personally numb isn’t so easy when I work with people who are experiencing the joy of living the richer story.
It is an unspeakable privilege to walk with people into their “better story” that they feel called to and thus then search for. And, as a human being witnessing relational risk around “all that stuff about forgiveness and risking rejection and learning to love”, there’s something profoundly compelling about being a witness to it. It affects me deeply as a human being, beyond providing a professional service as a therapist. There’s something incredibly life about being a therapist,that implicitly places a challenge to call me to my own “better story”.