I am seven years old again, twirling around in some frilly dress my mother picked out on a February night for the annual Girl Scouts Father-Daughter Dance. I dance in a circle with my closest friends to whoever the popular singer was at the time - probably Hilary Duff or Britney Spears. I act embarrassed of my father wanting to join in, but I know that when a slow song comes on, I will jump at the opportunity to show off my dad’s dance moves as I follow along, standing on his feet.
I am sixteen years old at my cousins wedding, this time wearing a formal dress I picked out myself and a pair of high heels to match. I’m dancing to LMFAO with my cousins in a beautiful banquet hall, complete with a fireplace in the center to warm the hearts of the guests and a courtyard to cool off in after shuffling the night away. I secretly await the polka, swing, or even waltz that will bring me back into the arms of my father.
I am seventeen years old at Sharp Top Cove in Jasper, Georgia, listening to a camp speaker talk about how God will always want you to come back to Him and that He will forgive and accept you time and time again. Sam Heilig starts to sing “Dance With Me” by Ryan Long, and the speaker’s daughter comes on stage to dance with him, reminding me of what I had done all my life.
“So I said, ‘dance with me; dance with me, Jen. I’d love to feel you in my arms again. Dance with me; dance with me, Jen. I’d love to feel you in my arms again.’”
We were sent out into the camp to reflect on what we’d heard. I laid myself down in the cool green grass of a warm August night, staring up at the swirling constellations, and I began to cry. This song and message were meant to have us reflect on our relationship with God - which they did - but I could not get my mind off the obvious: this song is about my real, earthly father and myself, not just my heavenly one.
“Several years later, my daughter and I can't get along no matter how hard I try.”...