SubRock Bottom (aka 20016)
When I picture Rock Bottom I imagine being able to look up (after counting all my wounds and blaming the rocks not myself) and see the precipice from which I once "boldly" hung, taunting fate and gravity, giggling at how fun it was to live on the edge, only for it to abruptly and without warning give way sending me careening to my demise.
The giggling happened. The fate taunting happened. The giveaway happened. The careening happened. The only difference was....
I was lower than Rock Bottom. I saw no precipice any more, I could only imagine it and knew it was once there. There was no light to examine my wounds but I felt them. There were remnants of the mountain and precipice from which I once clung, caked to my hands. But none of it's actual existence was to be found. I couldn't even look up. You see, lower than rock bottom is a heavy, thick, thick layer of smoldering self- destruction. It sits on you, the bulk of its weight over your chest, slightly off to the right. The deafening silence is quickly broken by chaotic noise- a disarray of lies spun to resemble the truth- the words of the enemy consuming every thought with such finesse that they become the truth. And SubRock is so freezing cold that it burns.
Call me melodramatic but if you've been here, you know I'm right. And this fresh hell, my sweet reader, was the biggest blessing I have had in all my 25 years.
You see, for a while I sat there, my head finally pushed up from beneath the rocks but my body firmly still planted below them. Like a weed in a gravel lot. And I was awe struck that this HAD to be no ones fault but my own and I quite deserved to be stuck there. And what wasn’t my fault… well I began counting all the ways and reasons that it still was. I could spend hours at a time spinning the situation in every conceivable manner to ensure that the blame was entirely on me. It was easier that way- it meant that I could control more of the mess. Once I had sufficiently designed my new identity (with the help of many an outsider’s input) and successfully defined myself by the massive mess I was in, I lay belly up on my lovely rock bed.
But here's where the game changed. The second I had convinced myself that SubRock Bottom was now my new home, and I would have to adjust my wardrobe to match (I could adapt...grunge was never really my style but I could make it work) a hand reach down and pull me up just enough that I was sitting on top of the rocks. I was officially only at Rock Bottom! This was great news, really. I could see the absolutely horrid, at-the-time-adventurous cliff that I had been climbing. And the kicker was- it wasn't actually a cliff at all. More of a rotating rock wall, like a vertical treadmill, propelled by body weight. Parts of it were quite lovely but for the most part I saw that it actually hadn't been well maintained, it was rickety, precarious, dangerous...I wasn't at ALL meant to be climbing it and the only reason I'd been on it was because someone else was stuck on it and had asked me to keep them company (they often told me how great I was at climbing, too!) I'm an all or nothing person, so I had jumped on. Bits and pieces of what I thought were reasons at the time clung to the now motionless wall. My blood began to boil.... why did I say yes to jumping on that wall?! Everything else I'd had going on was absolutely amazing.
I stared at this abysmal contraption and here's the thing: I didn't have all bad memories. In fact, many of the memories of this pseudo journey were amazing and I missed them. A lot. And again, as I began to be consumed by missing it all, someone reached out and spun me around.
There in front of me was an extremely high, steep, mountain. One so high I couldn't see the top. It was one that I had dreamt of, way in the depths of my mind while I was on the rotating rock wall, but never had been brave enough to jump off and pursue on my own. And though I had dreamt of this mountain I wanted nothing more than to go back to my wall and otherwise perfect surroundings. And again, as I took a timid step back, I felt hands pulling me, pushing me, forward. Like a newly- wed couple getting their Great Dane into the dreaded bathtub.
Bit by bit, day by day, I was propelled towards the new mountain, led by various people- incredibly patient, loving, encouraging, forgiving, gracious people- and God Himself. I found myself looking back occasionally, only to be reminded- dare I say toughly inspired- to turn and keep moving towards this mammoth of a peak.
I remember the day I reached base camp. It wasn't easy whatsoever but I was thrilled upon my arrival. There were guard rails as necessary, rests after each test, and the journey was extraordinarily challenging but felt good. It was the kind of pain that I knew was worth it- like getting a deep tissue massage.
Eventually I realized that the rock wall had actually left me weak, bored and creating my own, destructive, and given the nature of the wall, repetitive hurdles and challenges. It had left me a touch numb and to be quite frank had almost killed me. And the fall from the rock wall had left me in pieces. And my rock wall buddy….well, that’s another lengthy story for another day.
But now I have this.... this mountain has views!!! A real journey, a real challenge, with real rewards. My climbing buddy has nothing less than my best interest at heart - in fact it is written that upon my creation He made plans for me to prosper, to give me hope and future. I have other climbing companions who mirror and highlight His plan for me.
I now look down on base camp. It's distant but clearly visible. And though visions and sometimes nightmares of the rock wall creep into my mind, I see with my eyes and heart breath taking views all around me. I see things I could only have dreamt of. I am able to overcome life's hurdles and move past them with wisdom, strength and even a little wit. I have learned to say "no thank you, kindly" to joining the idly wandering “traveler” who has been going in circles. Instead I firmly, briefly, offer a map that I've drawn as I go- take it or leave it.
There are times when the next camp seems impossibly far away- but I've learned to enjoy the journey, the view, and most importantly trust that there is a purpose. In fact, when I look up and still can't see the top- I reflect on the rock wall and SubRock Bottom and all the pain. And I often wonder if I ever would have found this stunning, terrifying, inspiring, purposeful mountain otherwise, and if I had, would I have been compelled to climb it.