There’s a reason to like rocky bottoms. If you’ve ever felt your feet squelch into the uncertain flooring of a body of what that may or may not have creepy crawly yuckies in it, you know what I mean.

The smooth feel of a rocky bottom, though: yeah, the creepy crawlies can hide just as easily and the rocks can be sharp (often are). But I’ve always found the squishy yuck far less desirable than something solid.

But, that said, I’d rather not be exploring the bottom, thankyouverymuch. Let’s float on top of the water. You know, in a fine canoe or a boat of some sort. Let’s swim, at the very least, but not down there.

There’s a difficulty, isn’t there, in dealing with “rock bottom,” whether it’s a euphemism for “life sucks” or a description of the place you’re aiming to avoid. It’s not so different from suffering. None of us want to do it. We don’t line up and say, “Yep, sure, THANK YOU, I’d love some extra suffering and hardship!”

And so, given my little attitude there, you can imagine the way I alternated between rolling my eyes and trying to avoid reading Karen Beattie’s new book, Rock-Bottom Blessings: Discovering God’s Abundance when All Seems Lost.


I’ve seen plenty of suffering, though not as much as a lot of other people I know. It keeps popping up around me, and when I think I’m ready to deal with it? Oh, nope, turns out I’m not. I don’t need to hear about how you survived this amazing sob-inducing trial or how that person over there endured tribulations that will have me tripping over my tears for days to come.

No. Nope. Nada.

Thanks for asking and have a nice day.

And yet…

And yet I read this book and found it to be well-written and even…even…enjoyable. Beattie’s down-to-earth. Her halo’s as lopsided as my headband, and her approach is laced with humor and a healthy dose of humility. She’s self-deprecating in all the right ways and self-aware when it matters.

Somehow, I found myself relating to her, wanting to reach through the book and hug her, maybe share some chocolate with her (without the usual feeling I have in this sort of book to want to smack the person into sensibility).

In Rock-Bottom Blessings, Karen Beattie bares herself to her readers. She wrote the book to tell her story, because, she said in a recent interview, of “the belief that healing can come when we tell our stories. I wrote the book for myself, to work out my feelings and thoughts about what was happening in my life and where God was in it all. But I also felt compelled to write it so others who are facing similar struggles might find hope.”

Hope. It’s something we all need, and something we all seek. When hope is gone…what’s left? What else is there?

She explores that in the pages of this book, as she explores parenthood and death and financial hardship. She faces her struggles and she keeps gratitude front and center, minus the cheesiness that I sometimes feel when people get all “Thank you, God” about things.

Reading about her mom’s death and her reflections on parenthood ripped me open at a level I haven’t felt in a while. It was uncomfortable, but it was also cleansing somehow.

I was challenged by this book, and even more because reading it was linked with my diamond suddenly reappearing. I won’t be able to think about baptism the same way again. And, for that matter, I hope not to be able to look at my own blessings with quite the same nonchalance as I did.

I liked it. This was a good read, and one I recommend.