Since moving to Portland, I have developed a new appreciation for Don Miller. This could be due to the fact that he's a icon at Imago Dei, but also because he mentions a lot about Portland and Oregon in general in his books. Ever so often, I'll be driving down Burnside and see the "Stump Town Coffee" and think, oh yeah, that was in his book.
In Through Painted Deserts (which I just got done reading), Don writes about his first trip into Oregon which he made via Volkswagen bus with a friend he had recently met.
Unlike Blue Like Jazz ,which was a collection of essays, Don writes this as cross country spiritual journey. The main characters are Don, his friend Paul, and God who makes periodic appearances in the book.
As I read, I kind of felt like Don was in the beginning, that God is out there somewhere. He didn't see God in the concrete metropolis of Houston. Don becomes so disillusioned that he takes up an offer to drive to the northwest with the intention of not coming back anytime soon. I kind of envied Don for taking off in a van one day and driving till you run out of money. Through I have had thoughts like that when I was younger, I never had the courage to act on it.
Don and his friend Paul drive to the Grand Canyon and hike down it. They find they are pretty unprepared for the hike, yet Don found God alive in the sunrise in the canyon. Having seen the canyon myself (a long time ago) you have to appreciate God's creation and how long he took to make it.
After the Grand Canyon, Don drives up to California (where misadventures ensue) and finally into Oregon. Eventually Don ends up working in a country club outside Sisters , Oregon (another place I have recently visited). Don ends up sleeping outside in a tent with his friends most of the summer. He writes about how that was one of the best times in his life. He wrote how God provided everything in the forest and remembered the starry skies being breath taking every night (I really envied this because I've got a thing for starry skies). He begins to see God as a artist with his work in the sky above him each night. I began to wonder isn't it funny how we spend all our energy getting possessions, only to have to leave them behind to find ourselves and appreciate all God has created? With that said, I can't live an hour without my ipod.