I haven't read any Donald Miller stuff in a while, but I'm reading Through Painted Deserts. It's a journal of his leaving home via a road trip with a friend some years back. They took several weeks to drive from Texas to Oregon, where he lives to this day.
I've only read two of his other books--Searching for God Knows What and the ever-popular Blue Like Jazz. I like his style of writing. It's very conversational, almost stream-of-consciousness, and quite poetic at times (The first two make me feel like I could be a real writer. The last one not so much, 'cuz I'm not all that poetic). His words just sort of seem to wander out onto the page. It's deceptive, though, because I think it takes a whole lot of skill to sound so casual while conveying ideas so nicely.
Anyway, he's becoming so popular that I shy away from his stuff a little bit...but I really do like everything of his that I've read. I don't agree with everything he says but, you know, whatever.
The biggest idea I've gathered from Through Painted Deserts is how separating from the fast paced everyday life changed his perspective. It's in the same vein as the standard needs-vs.-wants discussion. He describes it as getting away from the lies that we start to believe when we are watching ads and living among people, such as those that tell us that eating certain foods or wearing certain clothes and so on will somehow fulfill us. Meanwhile, when we get out of the marketing bombardment we find so much to enjoy in the things God has put right in front of us. Like nature, sunrises, and such.
It's good timing because I've been thinking along those lines lately. The other night I took out the trash and it was the perfect kind of night for doing such a thing: chilly but not frigid and dark enough to see a few stars, but sort of bright as far as nighttime skies go. I was outside maybe 30 seconds but I slowed enough to take it in and be aware of the quiet and the beauty.
A week or so ago I ran with a friend. She did 10 miles because she's training for a marathon in the fall. I am not training for a marathon in the fall but I am training for a 10K in a month, so the Cat Daddy dropped me (and the Littler One, safely strapped into the single jogger) off at her halfway point, and we did the second 5 miles together. Nearly half the run was along a quiet stretch of road looking down upon the whole city, so while it wasn't all that early it was still calm and lovely, and reminiscent of the sunrise runs I used to take back in the day (and plan to take again eventually). We were talking about the simplicity of running. That's one of the things I love about it--grab a pair of running shoes and you're good to go. No extra equipment or gear to lug around. At least, none that's required. You can get into headphones and heart rate monitors and all sorts of fun stuff, but you don't need those things to go for a run.
When we reached her house, we high fived as her husband brought out tall glasses of water for us, and then we basked in the endorphins a bit before stretching out and getting back to the grind of chores and screaming kiddos.
The thing I love about morning runs is doing something that is just for me as the first task of the day. After I finish my run I'm more ready to take on the regular grind (other than wanting to take a nap, that is). It's another little way of sticking it to the man a little bit...