Hitting Bottom

Life often  forces us to ‘hit bottom–you know, leaving us with no options, no resources to fall back on–hitting the absolute end so that we’re finally forced to do something about a negative situation in our life that we know we should do something about, but just can’t seem to build up enough willpower or enthusiasm to face the problem on our own.

Sure, we’re supposed to tackle our problems and try to figure things out for ourselves, but when we’ve become somewhat lazy and refuse to face an especially pressing problem on our own,  He seemingly removes His Grace from us and lets us drift along in our laziness without His help. By doingHe knows we’re heading for a very rocky shore, but also wisely understands that we’ve chosen our path and must deal with the consequences. Of course, God won’t abandon His tantrum, wayward child–never has, never will. He’ll just meet up with you again once you’ve wrecked your ship on the rocks of disaster and run out of options.

You now have nowhere to turn and feel like you want to die, but some stubborn part of you just refuses to let go of life. You’re confused. You’re  desperate. You need help, but just too stubborn to ask for help, maybe even don’t (yet) realize that you’ve hit bottom. That’s when we’re ripe for some God-help, often unannounced!

I’ll give you an example of one of my ‘hit bottom’ options that life forced onto me. I was in the Canadian military at the time, stationed in Germany. Since it was during peace time, we were allowed to bring our families over with us, so I rented a small farmhouse near the small village of  Koerbeke near Soest. I loved German beer and whenever opportunity gave me the chance, I would ‘tie one on.’ Although my wife displayed tolerance, I knew she didn’t like my bouts of heavy drinking, and I realized that I was setting a poor example to my three young children. I often told myself, “well, this is the last time!” but, up until one dramatic late afternoon when God seemingly removed His Grace from me, these had just been  empty excuses on my part!

A friend of mine and I had been drinking for most of the afternoon when we realized that we were out of beer. We decided to walk (fortunately, not drive) the half kilometer down a slight grade to the village Pub. We were laughing and singing, seemingly bothering no one–Andy Capp comes to mind–when suddenly…no, I didn’t fall: I felt the ground rapidly coming up to meet me nose! (Ouch!) As my nose and the dirt road made stunning and painful contact, God granted me a dramatic, life changing epiphany!

God was there, right in the dirt with me! For that brief moment when my nose and the road made contact, God let me realize just how absolutely stupid, how degrading, how disrespectful to Him and my family I had lowered my standards through my heavy boozing.

No, my friend and I didn’t continue on our way to the Pub. My epiphany, like I said, was final, too dramatic and too ‘educational’ to continue along former habits. Although it was several years later before I gave up the use of alcohol completely, that fateful afternoon along a dirt road near Koerbeke, Germany was the last time that I ever again “tide one on“.

I always loved to eat well and I played very little attention to the quality, nor the amount, nor how much I ate: as long as it tasted good to me. Then, one day, the doctor gave me the news people dread to hear: I had kidney cancer, that later spread to my bladder. I won’t bother you with the (some painful) details involved in finally getting me to be cancer free, but the experience certainly changed my lifestyle! The scare of not recovering from cancer made me take a complete about face regarding my lifestyle, and what I ate.

I won’t go into ‘good food/bad food’ topics here. That would make this post way too long, but I will say that I became a vegetarian as a result of my research. Meat products of all kinds–and especially processed meat–has far too many chemicals in it to be even close to being  safe for human consumption!

I will conclude in saying that my limited research has shown, a couple of examples I’ve written about above, and I’m sure you can think of many of your own such life changing examples, that God works in mysterious ways, often letting us fall to ‘rock bottom’, in order that we might see our erring ways and change for our own good.

Call it God, the Universe, Buddha, or whatever your esteemed Creator might be, it is comforting to know that we are part of a loving Universe!

About Albert Schindler

I was born on the 27th of February, 1931, on a farm near Hubbard, Saskatchewan. As far back as I can remember I had a spirit that would not stay earthbound. In junior high, I remember taking first place for a short story in which I described my terrifying encounter with a dinosaur. In outer space – that is, when the teacher wasn’t directly speaking to me, I went where Buck Rogers wouldn’t dare go. I was more of a Calvin in Calvin and Hobbes type of guy, with my own, personal, very powerful, transmogrifyer always at the ready. In my ‘teens and twenties, I pushed aside my Calvin alter ego in favour of making a living and didn’t take seriously again my ‘writer’s bug’ until my late 30s. I still saw that the world as full of exciting things to learn and investigate, which my writing reflected in the several articles and a couple of short fiction pieces that I wrote and sold, including over 30 children’s radio plays for Alberta’s ACCESS Radio. Unfortunately, I abandoned my budding writing career in favour of starting my own business as a sign painter. Now that I can officially call myself ‘retired,’ I plan to resume my writing career, only this time, writing mostly fiction. Why fiction? I have lead a great, adventurous life in which I made many mistakes (the ‘adventure’ in life), that have taught me some very important lessons and allowed my spirit to grow to unimaginable proportions, inconceivable to me while still in my thirties. In fiction, I believe, one can adventure into both the inner and outer consciousness of man and the universe to infinite levels where only the boldest dare peak. Convention holds that article writing has to be factual – oh, you can be creative in how you present your information, but ‘fact’ (whatever that means) still must have its parameters in article writing, whereas fiction is limited only by the size of a writer’s spirit, and so far, I haven’t been able to fathom my limit.
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