Spiritual Musings from an Educated Redneck

An inside look of the mind of Pirate Pops

A Three Foot Circle

I tend to blog in spurts. I go for weeks and sometimes months without blogging and then I’ll knock out two in one week. That is what happened this week. Here is how it happened.
This week I watched 60 Minutes. They were interviewing a retired Navy Seal who had been on Seal Team 6 (which isn’t supposed to even be acknowledged as being in existence) that took out Osama Bin Laden. This Seal, before his retirement from the military, did thirteen deployments as a Navy Seal. He obviously did his part and then some for his brothers and his nation.
After his retirement he wrote a book about his experience as a Navy Seal. He sought legal advice about what he should do before publication. Should he have the manuscript vetted by the Pentagon before publication? He was told “No you don’t.” He received bad legal advice. Even though in his book he revealed nothing that isn’t common knowledge out there on the internet, or even revealed in the movie about the Osama Bin Laden operation, Zero Dark Thirty (which was vetted by the military), he is now being prosecuted by the military and the Seal community has disowned him. Whether it is fair or not, the tradition is that a Navy Seal never talks.
All of that is just background material for what I want to talk about. In the interview he told of an experience he had after basic SEAL training. He was learning how to scale a vertical cliff. At about 300 feet up the cliff he froze in panic. His instructor, on the rope next to him, bounced over and said, “Stay in your three foot circle.” He said, “What do you mean?” The instructor went on, “The three foot circle around you is all you have any control over. You can’t control what is below you or above you. Stay in your three foot circle and do what you have to and can do within that circle.” He practiced that principle and made it to the top.
He said that principle served him well for the rest of his career as a SEAL and in his life.
In fact, he said he was having to stay in his three foot circle when it came to all the chaos he was facing over the book.
As I listened to him the first thing that came to my mind was that Jesus said the same thing. In Matthew 6:24 Jesus said, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Jesus was saying, “Stay in your three foot circle.” That’s today.
That principle is taught in recovery. We often say to someone, “One day at a time.” Or we say, “Just do the next right thing.” What great wisdom! We look outside that three foot circle and are overcome with the enormity of it all and freeze! Our Heavenly instructor swings over to us and says, “Stay in your three foot circle.”
As I’m writing this I’m thinking about my garage. I look across the street at my neighbors, clean, orderly, uncluttered garage and I get inspired. I open the door to my own garage with the intention of doing something about the chaos. I end up just closing the door in frustration. Where to begin? The job is so enormous! I need to stay in my three foot circle. Just pick up one thing and get rid of it. Tomorrow pick up another thing and get rid of it. Eventually I think I could probably get it cleared out enough to at least walk through it without endangering life and limb.
A three foot circle. I hope that SEAL gets it all worked out legally. He certainly has done his part to deserve that much. I want to thank him for his service. I also want to thank him and that instructor for the thought of the “Three foot circle.”
Try it, you’ll like it.

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One thought on “A Three Foot Circle

  1. This is a concept for which I am very familiar. 27 years ago I was a brand new bus operator in my first week out of training. I had walked away from a high paying career and spent 6 months out of a job. We lost everything, so the bus thing had to be a success. That very first Saturday I drew a 4:30am show-up. I caught an 8 hour run on the most demanding of all routes. I came in that afternoon expecting to go home. I was exhausted. But no, the dispatcher put me back on Show-up until the last run was scheduled to go out at 4:30pm. At 4:30 that last driver did not come in and I caught that same bad run for 8 more hours. Saturday night that run was loaded with people and kids all night long. By dark I couldn’t see straight, so I decided to look up and see the end of the next block. When I reached the end of that block I looked up to see the next block. That’s all I did for the next 4 hours. I couldn’t quit. I was not a Christian at that time, but a month later after three years of dealing with a mentally ill child, I did quit and broke down on my bed and turned my life over to Jesus. By the the Grace of God, the Lord would not let me give up until he new I was ready. Now I have that job for 27 years and that bad run never bothered me again. That child is a grown man, two years sober, four kids, and soon to be a Grandfather. Ain’t life perfect.

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