Hitting Bottom and Its Benefits

If I've been a bit haphazard in my posting lately (and we know that I have), it's because I've been battling with one of those cathartic moments that comes along in my life about once every 20 years or so.

Like the birth and death of anything, the leading up to these crisis points is always harder than the actual passing through. I have a deep need for security, something I've really never known since getting out on my own, and I had to finally realize that security, like control, is only an illusion. It's something we set up for ourselves, but in the end what is it really? We take nothing with us when we leave here...

The past 10 years have been arduous, financially. I've been living in white-knuckled fear all this time: where is the next meal coming from? Will the utilities be turned off? (Here, because all the utilities are provided by the City, if one gets shut off, they all get shut off. Don't you love monopolies?) The one security we have is our home, but even then, we rent, not own, and the landlord could decide to sell the house, or take his pastor's sermon to heart one Sunday and decide he doesn't want to rent to a couple of "perverts". Such is life in the Bible Belt. There's no reason to believe this will ever happen, though, because during our last phone conversation he said, "You two are outstanding", meaning, we always pay the rent on time. We might not have anything left over for food, but we have a roof, and that's more important than anything, in my opinion.

I finally hit bottom on Wednesday. There was nothing in the kitchen. Lynette went to work without breakfast and she came home at noon and had nothing for lunch. Dinner was going to be even more nothing. I hadn't eaten in two days, outside of three stale crackers. I found a bag of rice in the pantrythere was about 1/3 of a cup of rice in itbut when I opened it I saw that pantry moths had nested in there. I didn't care. I was hungry. I rinsed it really well thinking, "Well, maybe if the rinsing and boiling doesn't take care of the eggs, I'll at least be getting some protein." I was serious. As I ate it, I read a post in Facebook in which a very deserving friend  said she'd really enjoyed having Chinese food for lunch, and there I was eating mothy rice.

I hit bottom. I just began sobbing, and I'm not a crier. I cried for my family, I cried for myself, for my lost dreams, for seeing nothing before me but a poverty-stricken old age, possibly homelessness. I cried for my autistic son and what will happen to him when I'm gone. I cried about feeling abandoned by my parents who hadn't planned for their deaths. I cried about Nettl's family, who have millions, but who don't help because they disapprove of us. I cried about the world's current economic crisis. I just cried and cried. I wrote in my journal:
"Everything is dry. Dry as dirt. We're in a drought, so our neighborhood which is usually green in April is brown. The sky is dry, the ground is dry, the windy air is dry, the bank is dry... my life is dry, dry. I need a deluge."
Later in the afternoon one of Nettl's old college friends dropped by and, as I sat trying to feel up to entertaining and doing my best to be a good host with nothing to offer but some iced tea, we talked. I didn't know why she'd driven all the way up from the Oklahoma CityNettl wouldn't be home for an hour. At last, she haltingly told me that she'd gone through her kitchen and had packed one-half of all she had and that it was out in her car; could I help her to carry it in?


The dear woman had not only brought bread, milk, eggs, meat, nuts, and produce, she'd also packed a cooler with a 24-pack of beer and also had two small boxes of wine. "Ya gotta have beer and wine," she said. Not 15 minutes later Ville walked in the kitchen door and asked if she could talk to me. Some of our friends had pooled together to give us what we needed to buy some groceries. Again, the tears came, this time for an entirely different reason. I made burritos for dinner and we all went to bed with full, happy tummies, and hearts.

We have the most wonderful friends in the world, and I mean that quite literally. We've always had a policy that we help each other when we can, that what goes around comes around. We don't count sheets, as the saying goes; we don't keep score. We are a family, a tribe, and the the needs of the many never outweigh the needs of the one. We know we're only as strong as a unit as we are as individuals. When we are in a position that we can help others in our circle, we will. I am so very blessed. And today it is raining, as if a shift of some kind has taken place. I feel it.

In searching the web for the benefits of hitting bottom, I found a list at Powered By Intuition (a blog that I intend to visit again) and trimmed it down to suit my situation and what I've either learned or am learning from it:
  1. You get to start over – the sky is the limit.
  2. You can walk away from the things you never really liked doing in the first place.
  3. It may entail reducing possessions, which makes you feel so much freer anyway.
  4. You get to downsize your life – and your overhead.
  5. The money you do make will go much farther.
  6. Life feels a bit simpler.
  7. You will see the beauty in "less is more".
  8. After the fall, you will really value the people who supported you through tough times. The fair weather friends will be long gone.
  9. You can make a very real distinction, based on having been to hell and back, about what’s truly important in life after all.
  10. It gives you time to write that book.
  11. The more distance you put between yourself and your old life the clearer your mind becomes.
  12. The time may be ripe to start your own business.
  13. Without the constant yoke of the rat race you’re finally able to hear the voice of your intuition.
  14. You wake up excited about the possibilities before you.
  15. Your life feels like a blank canvas.
  16. You get to build more confidence in yourself as you take new steps in new ventures.
  17. You stretch and grow in ways you never thought you would.
  18. You find out you like change, and you love challenge too.
  19. You realize your old life was weighing you down and reigning in your talents.
  20. You can be a totally new person – the one you only dreamed of becoming.
Have a wonderful weekend.