We’ve all been there. Or at least we’ve all said we have, regardless of whether we have or not.
I’ve finally hit rock bottom, you may have said. Remember that time last year when I thought I hit rock bottom? Well, I was wrong, because I’ve just done it now. Or maybe you’ve heard it said about other people. Oh, she’s definitely at rock bottom now, she has to be. Look at her.
And so we all tsk teeth and pat knees and furrow eyebrows and murmur sympathetically to the one who is only just strong enough to admit defeat in a slump of shoulders and frowns and lamentation.
Am I the only one who things being at rock bottom is a good thing?
I’ve hit rock bottom, they say.
I say to them, Good!
Wiki says rock bottom is the culmination of a descent to a place where a person has nothing left to lose in terms of possessions, status, wealth and perhaps even shelter, food and warmth as a result of self-destructive behavior (Read).
I have to say that I agree, I have no better way to sum it up. The phrase, after all, is an invention of the English language, heralding from decades back in reference to the inability to dig any further down once a layer of rock has been reached.
In other words, when you hit rock bottom, you’ve hit the lowest you can go.
You thought the way down, the fall, was bad?
It can get worse.
After the dust settles, you’ll find yourself lying at the bottom of a dark hole – you can fall no further.
But it is good.
When I think of my faith, of God, I think of the sea.
Imagine the ocean with me for a moment, dear readers – that area where the waves break and the surf is rough, waves knock you down and crash over you and push you around and hold you under. Once you get past that area of the sea, waves roll right under you and they just seem to be a little nudge, but if you’re caught in that surf for too long, it’s bad news.
Tumbling, rough and salty, breaking the surface mouth open lungs screaming long enough to gasp before you’re thrown back under again, somersaulting through murky space, eyes open and stinging, peering through colors and shadows and fear.
Which way is up? Which way is air, survival, life – which way is the deep, the dark, the death?
I think one of the most difficult parts of being suspended underwater is this: even if you know which way is up, being suspended in the water like that – not quite sinking but not floating either, just submerged almost in the middle of nothing – makes it difficult to reach the surface. If you even know which direction it is.
You look for the distorted blue fracturing light and hope that the direction you’re intending to swim is the right one, and sort of flail, kick a little and feel the current rush past your ears, you claw through nothing in slow motion and eventually generate enough force to swim up and lift your head out of the water.
But if you’re at rock bottom, the sandy ocean floor or even the tiled bottom of the deep end of the pool…you have all you need.
You can feel the hard steady surface beneath your feet and know with certainty which way is up.
And then all you have to do is push off the bottom and propel yourself straight up into the fresh air, breathing deeply and fully.
Rock bottom is a good thing.
You can fall no further.
And when you can fall no further, the only direction left to go is up.
He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.
My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation.
For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God?
From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Let us realize, my friends, that it isn’t just “I’ve reached the bottom.”
No, it’s “rock-bottom,” because what is more steady, more stable, more immovable and powerful and strong, than rock?
And who is more steady, more stable, more immovable and powerful and strong, than God the Father?
I tell you, rock bottom is a good thing.
It is at rock bottom where we lose everything in our lives except the Rock.
We say we are at rock bottom when we lose our friends, our girlfriend or spouse, or job, a car or house or pet, when we are suffering from addiction to alcohol or porn, when we hate ourselves.
We say we are at rock bottom when we have nothing.
Truly, it is when we believe we have nothing that we discover that we have everything.
We have always had everything, we simply lose sight of it by becoming distracted by other things.
The Bible is replete with instances in which we reference God as a rock or the Rock.
And Jesus tells us the Church is built upon His rock, Peter – which actually means “rock.”
The Church, our mother in faith, is built upon the a rock who is a disciple of the Rock, who is immovable and strong and steady.
My post is short tonight simply because my point is an obvious one.
Being at rock bottom is a good thing.
Take the time to be grateful you’re no longer falling, no longer floundering, no longer lost.
You’re safe. You’re steady.
It’s humble and painful, but you’re no longer moving.
Use the solid foundation to propel yourself forward, like the swimmers who win the race by lunging off the wall.
Remember that when you think you have nothing, you still have the foundation beneath you. You still have the rock, your faith, to stop your fall and push you back up again.
Christian band Relient K wrote a song which has been a staple in my life for years now, titled When I Go Down. This song illustrates what I mean to say when I say that rock bottom is a good thing.
Lyrics that speak to me read “When I go down/It hurts to hit the bottom/And of the things that got me there/I think, if only I had fought them.”
But this is not a song of desperation.
No, this is a song of praise.
“When I go down/I lift my eyes to you/I won’t look very far/Cause you’ll be there/With open arms/To lift me up again.”
Let us remember that when we believe we have nothing, we realize that we have always had everything.
That everything is God, He is Everything and we need no more than Him.
If it takes us the utter loss of everything else to go back to what is most important, so be it.
I’ll tell you once more, readers, before I finish belaboring the point.
Being at rock bottom? It’s a good thing.
*Update 4/21: I went to a praise and worship session a few days ago and one of the songs the band played fit perfectly with what I was trying to say in this post. I searched high and low for a version similar to the twangy acoustic version the band played and this guy was the closest. The chorus sings “On Christ the solid rock I stand/all other ground is sinking sand.” Poignant, no?