“Rock bottom is good solid ground, and a dead end street is just a place to turn around.”
—Buddy Buie & J.R. Cobb, Rock Bottom
Grace is not as easy as some presuppose,
The pilgrimage of life often has us coming to blows,
No matter how much we try and pretend,
A struggle continues until we mandate an end.
Complications and mystifications are our lot,
More and more bother is our spot,
Again and again we try and pretend,
But in influencing these things we cannot bend.
Then comes the time to suddenly submit,
The direction of our effort with which to pit,
Now it approaches—the appearance of the end,
God’s grace must subsist and does now extend.
Oh the charity, oh the bliss,
The signs of the end we cannot now dismiss,
Such a thing is uncompromisingly true,
And now it’s bringing a long-awaited ‘new’.
Ends precede beginnings. Sure, it occurs the other way around as well, but when we have had enough, the end has come and a new beginning comes into sight.
And what type of endings are we talking about?
Perhaps it is something that started off well but now causes pain; it promised much but delivered little; the pain involved in changing has become more inviting than the pain of staying as we are.
Rock bottoms are salubrious for the simple fact that the agony energises within us the drive to break out. One moment in the roasting abyss can convert us to an about-face.
A Common Case Study
There are thousands upon thousands of this type of story every day. A man or a woman, having struggled with depressive thoughts and anxious feelings, decides, at a particularly low moment, that they have had enough. They are at a crossroad. This crossroad often takes a person to either self-harm or to therapeutic help. And the latter outcome, thankfully, comes to pass. They go to their doctor to get help. They realise they are at an intolerable end. They fix their purpose on this hopeful beginning.
It’s no different with addiction, backsliding, or grief. We have the choice at that ‘rock bottom’—to continue in hell, or turn 180 degrees toward life. And depending on what we are dealing with—grief particularly—further regressions may be inevitable. But we have opportunities to rebound each and every day.
Rock bottoms are endings that can catapult us on a fresh, life-giving trajectory.
They are a cause for later celebration. All that stands in our way is a vision and hard work. This is universally achievable. A new direction has its genesis immediately upon an about-face.
Wherever there is vision for a better tomorrow there is hope.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.