Today I am pondering Moby-Dick in light of a new memoir I read this past weekend: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, by Donald Miller. It challenged me to view my life as a story -- one in which I am a co-author.
Author Donald Miller found himself in what, Ishmael would have called "a drizzly November in [the] soul." Through the aid of two movie producers, he began to"edit his life into a better story."
Through the passing of a beloved uncle, Miller realized that at the close of life "If you [haven't told] a good story, nobody thinks you died too soon; they just think you died." He began to wonder if a person could plan a story for his life and live it intentionally.
Ishmael contemplated this too. In chapter 47 of Moby-Dick, he and Queequeg were weaving a sword mat. Ishmael used his hand for the shuttle and Queequeg slid his oaken sword between the threads.
...it seemed as if this were the Loom of Time, and I myself were a shuttle mechanically weaving and weaving away at the Fates... this warp seemed necessity; and here, thought I, with my own hand I ply my own shuttle and weave my own destiny into these unalterable threads.
If I have a hope, it's that God sat over the dark nothing and wrote you and me, specifically, into the Story, and put us in with the sunset and the rainstorm as though to say, 'Enjoy your place in my Story. The beauty of it means you matter, and you can create within it even as I have created you.
Relationships. "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 relationships."
What's the point? "If the point of life is the same as the point of a story, the point of life is character transformation." One of the important questions I must answer at the end of each novel on the WEM list is
"How did the protagonist change?"
"The point of a story is never about the ending... It's about your character getting molded in the hard work of the middle."
Miller wondered if:
...we were designed to live through something rather than to attain something, and the thing we were meant to live through was designed to change us.