In a previous post, I mention several books I read during the month of July. All of these in some way related to fathers. One of these books was To Own a Dragon by Donald Miller and John MacMurray. (Miller is probably best known for his book Blue Like Jazz.)
In the book, Miller reflects on growing up without a father. He reveals the thoughts and feelings of a young man deeply impacted by the loss of his father.
...I began to wonder if those of us without dads aren’t making mistakes in our lives we wouldn’t make if we had a father to guide us. I wondered if there isn’t a better paradigm for our existence–a way of being men, a way each of us could truly embrace if it were instilled in us by a man who spoke with altruism and authority. I wondered if people who grow up with great fathers don’t walk around with a subconscious sense they are wanted on this planet, that they belong and the world needs them. And I wondered this: Is there practical information we are supposed to know about work, women, decisions, authority, leadership, marriage and family that we would have learned if there were a guide around to help us navigate our journey? … (p. 34)
Much of the book discusses the relationship between Miller and the co-author John MacMurray. For a time, Miller (as a single adult) lived with the MacMurray family. I found the discussions between Miller and MacMurray to be very interesting. It was interesting to see how an older, Christian man could have such a positive impact on a younger man.
There were two chapters I especially enjoyed. His chapter entitled "Making Decisions" was outstanding. (I wish I had read this when I was in college years ago.)
I also enjoyed the last chapter entitled "Spirituality." Here are a few lines from that chapter:
- The Scripture that states if an earthly father knows how to provide for his children, how much more God knows how to provide for His, speaks volumes in antithesis too: If an earthly father abandons his children and wrecks their lives, how much more would an abandonment from God destroy a human being? (p. 182-183)
- The feeling a person who grows up without a father has is that God is disinterested. It’s a difficult feeling to explain, because I also believe God is loving and good and involved. (p. 186)
- (MacMurray to Miller regarding faith) But, you know, Don, if it stays in your head it will never work. We have to live it out. And that, in turn, increases our faith. It’s like any relationship, you have to dive in, you have to let the relationship change you. We do that by obeying God. We submit to Him like a kid does with a father. (p. 188)
I enjoyed this book. It caused me to reflect on my life as a father and father-in-law. A good read.