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Book Review: Dancing with My Father by Sally Clarkson

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With all the bad news we hear almost on a daily basis, it seems joy is a commodity that is in short supply – at least sometimes in my house. I don’t mean happiness; sure I’m happy, but when something bad happens, it’s easy for me to teeter right over into despair. For instance, I fell into a blue funk after hearing about the devastation in Haiti and then in Chile, and don‘t get me started on the jobless rate and the state of health care. Needless to say, Dancing with My Father came right on time.

After reflecting on hopeful times in her life like when she got married, was expecting her first child, or excited about starting a new job, Sally Clarkson struggled knowing she wasn’t really joyful anymore. She then found it necessary to reclaim her joy. Not wanting her circumstances to decide her joy, she embarks on a journey to find spiritual rest in God. As she puts it on page seven, “I wanted to be a child, delighting in the life, at peace with God, living in the grace of the moment. I wanted to live above the pull of depression and cultivate a heart of joy from which others could draw. I wanted to know what it really meant to be filled with the reality of God, the love of God, and the joy of God, every day, no matter what else was going on in my life.”

I know after repeatedly hearing bad news I tend to feel weighed down by all the things happening in the world and in my personal life. I really liked how the author used dance to describe our relationship with God. When we dance with our father, we choose to take steps to follow his direction, and trust in his leadings. Dance keeps us moving and focused on God. There isn’t a chance to be immobilized by fear over what we’re hearing or seeing around us if we continue to keep dancing — one step at a time.

If you find peace and joy hard to hold onto, I recommend reading Dancing with my Father to revive your faith and increase your joy. This book would make a good devotional because at the end of each chapter you'll find questions to help you "find your rhythm in God's joy."

Will you miraculously find joy despite your circumstances? Probably not right away. Knowing how to dance takes time and practice. However, as you continually put the book's principles into practice, I’m sure you will at least show progress. After all, that’s what this spiritual journey is about anyway. My favorite spiritual teacher always says, “You may not be where you want to be, but at least you’re not where you started.”

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