Just a few months ago I found myself driving through downtown Chicago, I see a popular restaurant and tavern called Rock Bottom and I wondered what kind of person would hang out in a place like this? What experience would they be looking to have while there?
Fast forward a few month and I too would find myself at home during the Christmas holiday, in the midst of all the things, sick with Covid. Trying to celebrate, trying to separate, trying to disinfect, trying to breathe. Rock bottom came at the point of me trying to sleep through the night in order to face a new day. Rock bottom came on the silence of isolation, in the waiting for clearance to be free. Rock bottom came from my daughter wanting to hug me, but being met with my hand pushing her away to keep her safe. Here at the lowest point, I can only get up from here. There is no where else to go. No direction more feasible than up.
This however is not completely unfamiliar. I have felt this low before. It reminds me of the first D received in freshman year Algebra, telling me to sit down, shut up, and pack up- “you don’t belong here.” While sitting alone in a study cubicle, fourteen, two thousand miles away from home, without the support of family.
I’ve felt the pain of this low, as I shared a single room with a friend, in the back of a house chopped up to make single units. The kitchen and bathroom, common areas for all tenants to share, “outside and up the stairs”, they said. On a rainy day I sat at the bottom of the stairs, trying to collect my wind and hold back my tears after slipping down the wet flight.
I’ve felt the painful sting of the death of my mother, and the numbness of depressed relationships, the loss of time stolen, laughter, joy, both empty and lonely- Rock bottom.
In the midst of the low, in this celebratory season of Christmas is a story rooted in humility and lowliness. A savior is born in a dirty, cold, God forsaken place- a stable with animals, without even the comforts of the day. There, a mother gave birth battling the concern of cleanliness, with the pain of a deadline, despite her
best attempts she and her husband still land here at rock bottom, ushering in the best gift ever given to man.
A season came when wiseman prayed sensing something different in the earth. It was the presence of a Savior sent as a plan of Forgiveness, Restoration, and Reconciliation of us back to himself. For it was and still is his desire that all come into a good ol’, loving relationship with his heart and plans for your existence.
He fought for you then, made a plan for your now, and is excited to know your future but in order to grab ahold of the future that awaits you’ve got to release Rock Bottom.