I need to "hit rock bottom", and other things we say that are not true
I used to believe the expression,"you need to hit rock bottom" was true. Until I watched a love one never hit it.
I sat in a circle and listened to the experts warn us, "there is no rock bottom." Funny, how we hang onto slogans and sayings as if they are truth, because they roll off of the tongue, they so easily come, they offer the dying on the vine a false sense of hope. I think it also gives us an excuse to eliminate ourselves from the equation...believing there is nothing I can do about it....washing our hands clean and walking away convincing those around us that I play no part in any of this....people have to learn to help themselves.
The Magnificat writes, "He is the One whose "heart is moved with pity" when he recognizes our bottomless need." The Gospel of Mark (Mk 6:34-44) tells us the story of the five thousand who were fed with just fives loaves and two fishes. And can we not all relate to that bottomless hunger, that painful, deep in our core, impossible need, we have all felt? That perhaps, this very second, you might be feeling?
In college I starved myself, literally, because I was hungry.
Because my need to be loved was bottomless.
My need to be noticed was bottomless.
My need to have purpose was bottomless.
My need to feel worthy was bottomless.
My need to be beautiful was bottomless.
My need to be desirable was bottomless.
My need to be wanted was bottomless.
My need to be set apart was bottomless.
My need to fit in was bottomless.
My need for life to have meaning was bottomless.
If you starve a plant it dies. (I know this first hand. I have a gift for killing plants.) In my twenties I figured, if I starved the insatiable craving - that inner scream and growl that never quieted down; if I numbed the very places of my heart that ached to the point of death, it too, would die. But it doesn't work that way, does it? The only thing that dies is yourself. The bottomless need lives on.
Because beneath the rocks at the bottom that you are waiting to hit, you all too soon discover....there is yet, more need below.
And I love how Mark tells us this story of the multiplication of the fishes and loaves, because you can almost hear the sarcasm in the disciples voices when He suggests that, rather than take the easy way out and send the poor lost sheep out to find food for themselves, that, they should feed the thousands themselves."Are we to buy two hundred days wages worth of food and give it to them to eat...you idiot?", they ask. Only I added the idiot part...because honestly, it is what they must have been thinking. The crowd was bottomless and their need was bottomless and to even hint that they were capable of such a miracle...to fill this flocks need....was ridiculous.
And they were right.
They were not capable of such a miracle.
But notice Who is.
Notice Who prays the blessing over the small offering. Notice Who does the breaking. Notice Who performs the miracle. It is not the disciples. And guess what? It is not us, either. It is God and God alone. He doesn't expect us to fill anyone or anything. He doesn't ask us to be the one that satisfies hunger - be it our own, or another's. All that He asks is that we bring to Him what we have, no matter how small; that we trust Him with what is most precious to us, what is most fragile, what is our absolute everything and what feels like all that we have left. He asks that we reach deep into our own bottomless need and with confidence, hand it over for good. And when we do this? When we play our part, not God's, when we keep ourselves in the story and stay obedient to His will, miracles happen. Fragments are leftover. Crowds are satisfied.
It is excruciating to watch those that you would give your own life for, those that you promised your life to, desperately try to fill their bottomless need with everything that will never satisfy. It is difficult to resist the temptation that perhaps, you did something wrong...that you are to blame for a life in darkness that they chose over a life with you. But you know what I think? I think that the reason spouses look for outside lovers, and children look for mind altering drugs, and women look to excessive dieting, and men look to the remote control, and too many look to pornography, and the world looks to too much of Netflix, or sugar, or alcohol or anything that stops the ache and the noise, and at least for the moment, feels good, is because there is no rock bottom.
But rather, there is simply, a ROCK.
A Rock that when struck, life giving waters flow from.
A Rock then when stood upon, is steady and level.
A Rock that is firm, unmovable, never changing, or prone to waver.
A Rock that offers His very body and blood, to everyone who believes in Him, by the miracle of the Eucharist. Real food. His entire heart. The cure to our confusion, the remedy to our disease. Ours for the taking. Every single day.
I never got to rock bottom, but I did come to Jesus.
And until our hunger comes face to face with Him, we will never be satisfied.
Until we recognize that the ache we feel is not for something but for someone, we will never be full.
It is God we need to find at the bottom of our brokenness.
Bring Him whatever you have.
His love is bottomless.