It’s great at the top when you can see it from the bottom

| April 29, 2016 | 0 Comments
Ch. (Maj.) John Grauer

Ch. (Maj.) John Grauer


Chaplain (Maj.) John Grauer
Plans and Operations Chaplain
U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii


Here’s a hypothetical situation: It is dark, really dark, except for the stars that illumine the sky. The platoon is conducting a dismounted patrol down a seemingly deserted road in Mosul, Iraq, when an explosion breaks the silence and gunfire erupts.

A few seconds seems like hours, so when the commotion gives way to silence, and you all eventually arrive at the forward operating base, you’re glad you’re alive.

The adrenaline is pumping through your veins. You think about your team, your family, and that you almost died!Soldier in Iraq

Finally, as your eyes close, you relive the experience of the day, and you wish while going through the battle, you knew you and your team were going to be okay.

Now, crisis and adrenaline over, you can rest.


Life is wonderful, but what if it’s not?

What do you do when life just seems hard? Too often, life gets us down with memories, and we have regrets.

Certain seasons and transitions in life lend themselves to self-reflection and examination. For some individuals, it brings to mind feelings of regret over wasted opportunities, personal failures, broken relationships and bad decisions.

In life, there will always be a moment where we made mistakes. I call it the “should’ve, could’ve, would’ve.”

I’ve come to the conclusion those regrets will only weigh us down like an anchor at the bottom of the sea. You made choices that negatively marked your future, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Life has its ups and downs, and that is why I need to regularly practice critical skills. As Soldiers, we practice critical skills that will allow us to defend our nation’s freedoms. As a scuba diver, I learn simple techniques to handle emergencies as part of that training. The only way to recall critical skills in the event of a problem is practice.

Seeing the topWhy practice? Because when a crisis happens, I need to see the top, even from the bottom. It means when difficulties arise, I’m not defined by defeat; I’m defined by looking at the top.

I have also found that in training, I don’t do it alone. There is always someone who can be the lifeline when there is no one else. (If you don’t have that one person, you need to get one!)

There is a lifeline waiting for you. The Army defines this as a battle buddy; in diving, it’s a dive partner, and a fighter pilot has a wingman. So, who do you have?



It matters little if it’s on patrol on a dark street in Mosul or diving in the dark Pacific Ocean. If you have a lifeline, you’ll never be alone.

So, today, as you read this, if you feel life has let you down, you need a lifeline. If your life has been filled with wasted opportunities, personal failures, broken relationships and bad decisions, and you feel like giving up, God is saying hold on!

You heard me. Hold on! Where you were isn’t as important as to where you’re going.

In other words, you have a future, no matter what, so let go of your past, and you can get to your wonderful life that God has gifted you with.John Grauer Diving

One night while diving, I stayed hovering near the bottom. I looked up and I saw a bright light from another diver, my lifeline in a dark sea. It’s great at the top when you can see it from the bottom.

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Category: Footsteps in Faith, News, Standing Columns

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