Everyone Hits Rock Bottom - The Warrior's Journey®
Moral Injury

Everyone Hits Rock Bottom

House Of Pain. Photo by Marines is licensed under CC By 2.0

Most warriors can relate to the thoughts of John Lennon when he wrote: “Life is what happens while you are making other plans.” When life brings us down, it’s tempting to think things will never get better. That’s when it’s good to remember, we are warriors, not prophets!

That was true for a man named Sammy too. Here is his story….

Sammy was despondent over the outcome of his life. He had once realized his childhood dream of becoming a Mississippi riverboat pilot in the mid Nineteenth Century. But it all came crashing down when war broke out between the States in April 1861. The Civil War shut down all commercial traffic on the Mississippi River. Sammy’s job faded away. He traveled west to Nevada and then to California with his brother.

Sammy tried his hand at numerous jobs. First as a secretary, then as a prospector, as a newspaper reporter and journalist. But nothing worked. Sammy failed or was fired from them all. Then, in 1864 – without a job, a penny or a friend – Sammy lost the last thing he had left – hope. Feeling worthless and hopeless, and convinced that he’d never find happiness or success in life, Sammy lost the will to live.

As he sat in his lonely San Francisco boarding room, Sammy put a revolver to his head and came within a breath of pulling the trigger. The only thing that held him back was the suspicion that he might be wrong. That tomorrow might bring a better day.

Good move for Sammy. For within a matter of months Samuel Clemens would begin a stunningly successful career as a journalist, a humorist, and a lecturer. He became the author of some of the most widely read books of all time. Books like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Most important, Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, would soon meet the woman who would become his life-long soul mate – Olivia Langdon.

The only thing that held him back was the suspicion that he might be wrong about life and that tomorrow might bring a better day.

Mark Twain came so close to throwing away his life – while all his greatest works were still in him. What would have happened if he’d pulled a little harder on that trigger?   If he hadn’t given life one more chance? Books like The Prince and the Pauper, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Life on the Mississippi, and characters like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn would have never existed.

All warriors hit rock bottom. But none of us stay there. This is because God is the greatest Author of all. He has a glorious conclusion to our life’s story. It’s up to us to accept things as He designs.

In the Scripture, a once despairing King David (also a warrior) lived another day to write: “I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord!  …O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them” (Psalm 40:1-6, NLT).


Dear Father in heaven, in those dark days when I think there’s no tomorrow, remind me that You only write stories with happy endings. Amen.


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