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Ready to Go

Written after returning from COP Keating to FOB Bostick, Nuristan, Afghanistan

Is there something lifeless that you are clinging to? Is there comfort you are unwilling to step out of? Are there plans you are unwilling to give up? Who is really in charge of your life? Are you ready to go?

Are you?

There's a great verse in Hebrews 12 that sums this up: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

We have several ways of fortifying our fighting positions, combat out-posts (COPs) and observational posts (OPs) and one of them is very simple...something called "tanglefoot", which is exactly what it sounds like.

I remember a story Mike Blackwell told me about his time in the military when they set up fishing line, which you can't see well with night vision goggles (NVGs), and how a guy simply stumbled into it during a training exercise and they lit hit up with the machine gun (blanks of course). A great funny story to hear, especially when he demonstrates the dance moves he was doing as the overheated brass casings starting popping off down into his shirt while they were in the foxhole. Classic.

So last night, I was sleeping the night away, fully content to not be leaving COP Keating until Wednesday night, when the TOC RTO (radio dude) came running in to inform us that a Black hawk was 30 minutes out and was prepared to take PAX (people) back to Bostick. Not that I was super excited about getting up at that hour, nor about leaving because I was having quite a nice time out there, but I realized that I needed to get back, refit and regen(erate) to leave out for Lowell in order to make it to Fritsche before green illum ran out next week. Henceforth, I will always notice the cycles of the moon, but I digress...

So we packed up quite hurriedly, got full battl-rattle on and rushed out the to the helicopter landing zone (HLZ) and hopped on the UH-60 (Blackhawk) and got back here sometime around 0245 this morning. And I have been awake since, just catching up.

SO how do I tie these loose ends together? Maybe the question you need to ask yourself is, "What holds me back from rushing out the door when the call comes?" "What unfinished business are you unprepared to leave behind when you need to move on to the next thing?" "What is your tanglefoot?"

You see, we all have something we're not prepared to give up, something we feel like we can't live without, something that e wholeheartedly believe our livelihood and survival is dependent on, but maybe we don't realize how much it holds us back. I had all of 2 minutes to make a decision to stay or go, to go back to bedand catch the next bird or accept that I was needed elsewhere and that my time at Keating had been sufficient. I had to decide to move on, and in my heart I knew I was ready to go. And the easiest part of it all? I had everything laid out in an orderly fashion, prepared for the next day, so I simply had to run down the line of socks, boots, shirt, rucksack, pack. Part of being ready to go is not only being prepared to leave things behind, but being prepared for what lies ahead. Granted, we can't always know, but faith in God covers a multitude of forgotten things in the midst of a well planned life. It is written, "a man may plan his steps, but the LORD directs his path." It is a joint venture. And if we are in a moment where we feel stuck and immobile, perhaps it is time we ask, "Am I really prepared to leave it behind, and am I really prepared for what lies ahead." Jesus spoke a few times about counting the cost, and I believe he was speaking quite literally about these things.

Matthew 18:18-22

When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." Another disciple said to him, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." But Jesus told him, "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead."

Is there something lifeless that you are clinging to? Is there comfort you are unwilling to step out of? Are there plans you are unwilling to give up? Who is really in charge of your life? Are you ready to go?

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