Mostly because for a long time, I never knew what the book was about. The cover was pretty and the title intriguing, almost like the tile of Dancing on Hot Coals, but I just did not know what the content matter was. But then the movie came out which got such great reviews (probably because Julia Roberts played in it, and who are we kidding, she is a great actress, especially when paired with Richard Gere) which made me want to see it. But I have this rule about books made into movies: I must read the book first before I ever watch the movie, just in case the movie is an absolute failure and it turns me off from ever wanting to read the book at a later date (side note: so glad I have this rule. I read the Kite Runner a few months before I watched the movie, which is no comparison. Had I watched the movie first, I probably never would have read the book).
Anyways, once I realized that this was a book that I wanted to read, I could never find it. Fancy that! Before I had seen it at every bookstore, and now, everywhere I went it seemed to be sold out or unable to locate due to the stores messed up inventory (thanks Borders). However, this past weekend my husband and I hit up Borders going out of business sale and there I finally found it. And it was stinking cheap. And hardcover too!
Although I have other books that I really should read first, or at least finish reading, I could not wait to start reading it. So I stayed up late last night, and as soon as I read the first sentence, I loved it. There is something about the way Gilbert writes, comparable to Anne Lamott I suppose, and just her honesty and intense vulnerability that I enjoy.
I also enjoy her determination, her willingness to overcome the things that are obstacles in her life. Now granted, I believe some of those obstacles were brought on by herself but I appreciate her willingness to work through them nevertheless. I appreciate her resolve and her refusal to allow life to happen to her. She admits that she has struggled with depression but instead of letting that get the best of her, she reaches out beyond herself (which we all have to do when we are in a spot of extreme pain) and gets help! Depression can do crazy things to people, most often causing them to close up and separate themselves from the love of others when they need love the most. But I am glad that she does not do that. She cries for help at the moment of her extreme need.
Although I do not struggle with depression, or even some of the other struggles that she reveals in the book, if I am honest with myself, and most of the time I am, I have to say that in the past I have. I have dealt with depression, feelings of loneliness, inappropriate relationships with the opposite sex, feelings of desperation and despondency, all the while trying to make sense of those things in the context of who God is and my relationship with him. And although my faith and experience with God looks quite different than Gilbert’s, I see much of myself in her story, or at least who I used to be. When I was messed up. When I was alone. When I was a heap of everflowing tears, and balled up bloodied tissues.
I thank God that I am no longer there, but have moved to a place of wholeness, forgiveness, love (for God, others, and myself), and balance. I thank God that I am no longer the emotional wreck, crying at every whim, without a moment’s notice, at the drop of a tiny pin. But I know that there are people, millions I suppose, if not billions, who all over the world, struggle with finding peace, joy, love and acceptance, in a world that does not give those things easily. Gilbert found her ultimate self through studying pleasure, spiritual exploration, and balance. I found my true self through Christ. The day that I realized that in order to gain my life, I had to lose it in him by identifying with his death on the cross, and clinging to his resurrection, my world changed forever.
You can read about my own life-changing journey. Get your copy of the re-release of Dancing on Hot Coals today