“You just gotta get your mind right,” the older kids told us. Sometimes before, sometimes after their stories of how they mustered the courage to face their Goliath. It was never a real giant or fire-breathing dragon, but they were tales of survival all the same.

“You just gotta get your mind right”, some bragged, others tried to encourage, to pass along some wisdom to those they called “still wet behind the ears”… whatever that means…

Personally, it took me a long time to figure out how to get my mind right. Even with the best advice, it takes some real life bumps and bruises to put some feet on the old adage, “You just gotta get your mind right.”

Later, I heard men who have done time in prison use that phrase, usually with a far away look in their eyes. That look in their eyes helped keep me in the “Bending the rules” column, instead of the “Flat out breakin’ ’em”, one.

I didn’t do it on the way into the “death tube”, but it didn’t take long to do some fast catchin’ up once I was inside. It was one of those scenarios that if you don’t get your mind right in short order, you’ll make a complete spectacle of yourself, and miss being diagnosed.

It was called an “M.R.I. tube”. What X-rays are to busted bones, M.R.I.’s are to ripped ligaments and soft tissue. The original M.R.I. tubes were designed for Pygmys, so as the table slides into the tube it folds your shoulders up like how we used to fold paper airplanes as kids.

Get your mind right

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It’s no easy task to lie there, stuck, with no way out, in a dark tube, with the sound of hammering rocks in your head. You have a choice; you can just get your mind right, or scream like George Jetson calling for his wife to “Stop this crazy thing. HELP – JAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANE!!!”

That’s where I perfected the art of “speed praying”. I’ve done more than my fair share of time in the “death tube”, and every time inside I thought about my brothers. Them, and my dad’s tiny tool box mounted under the bed and behind the cab of that old 60′ Ford pick-up.

I was limber and my brothers wanted to show off my talents. As the youngest, I was more than happy to be the center of attention. Till, once inside, they slammed and locked the tool box door. I screamed like a girl. I didn’t even care.

When my wife booked our flights to the island in the Pacific, I thought about scuba diving again… and about “You just gotta get your mind right”. Flying for close to six hours over water can flat out rattle you.

But now, I know a thing or two about how to get your mind right. I considered the verse, “A man plans his steps, but God directs his path…” Then I “speed prayed” over the Pacific…

Just kiddin’… about the “speed” part, but not the “praying” one. That’s the real Truth about how to get your mind right…