Walking, Bowling, and a Tale of Two Gutters

Watch it – it’s a small step from the curb to the gutter! When you are walking down the sidewalk, you appreciate the curb which helps protect the spatial difference between you and vehicular traffic on the street. You also appreciate the gutter which is designed to funnel water away from your feet. Vehicles should not jump the curb. Pedestrians should not slip into the gutter.

Watch it – it’s the tenth frame so don’t throw a gutter ball! When you are bowling down the alley, you respect the narrow path the spherical object you’re throwing must travel for a spare or strike. You also respect the narrow margin of the warm wooden flooring and the cold grey gutters on either side. You jump for joy over spares and strikes. You avoid the dreaded gutter ball.

This is the tale of two gutters. Imagine you are walking with a friend along life’s journey, and your feet begin to slip toward the gutter. Your friend reaches out and stabilizes your footing. Now, imagine you are bowling in the lanes of life with a friend, and your throw heads toward the gutter. Your friend activates the ‘bumpers’ and the ball then scores a strike.

God knows it’s a small step from the curb to the gutter. God knows it’s difficult to stay on the straight and narrow. God knows we all need help. You can be the difference for a family member, friend, or fellow airman. Being a good wingman is like being the hands, the feet, and the face of God for someone heading toward the gutter. Embrace the challenge and change the world.



Ch O


Chaplain, (Maj.) John O’Brien

115th Fighter Wing Chaplain Corps

Truax Field, Madison, WI


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