Thursday, October 14, 2010


You know, they say some day we might be able to live on Mars. We already have a Space Station that sustains life for astronauts for months and months. I'm wondering, if I had been down in that hole in Chile, if I wouldn't have opted out of the 15 minute capsule ride and just taken up residence down there.

If being trapped in the dark with 33 men wouldn't have put me over the edge, I know the capsule ride would have. I'm just a little bit on the claustrophobic side.

I panic when I'm in an enclosed place that I can't see my way out of.

I'm a firm believer that it is our neurosis that keep us sane. Embrace your neurosis and it will keep you from slipping into psychosis. At least, that's what I believe. That belief has actually worked for me over the years. Especially since I became a mom. Roaring Mom philosophy states that we offer a better show of strength to our children when they can see our weaknesses and also see us work through them. Nevertheless, I did try to calm my few neurosis when my kids were younger, if for no other reason than to not scare them.

Case in point: Several years ago we visited the caves in Hannibal, Missouri (Mark Twain's boyhood home) while on our family vacation. This was pretty cool because I've always enjoyed Mark Twain and the kids were all big fans of the movie Tom and Huck. The caves were the exact same caves Mark Twain explored as a child and brought to life in his Tom sawyer and Huckleberry Finn adventures. Number Two Under the Cross, where Tom and Huck find the treasure, is a real life, actual place! And because of the nature of caves, it looks pretty much the same as it did back then. With the exception of a wall full of autographs from when they used to let visitors sign their names.

Anyway, we're touring these caves. In several places, the tour group had to walk single file. As I remember it, at the narrowest point, the path is only 19 inches wide. I had stayed back to take a picture and got separated from the rest of the family. They were just a few people ahead of me, but I couldn't see them because I ended up in the single file line behind a man whose head practically touched the cave ceiling, whose shoulders filled the cavity, and whose butt, I KNOW, was more than 19 inches wide. I couldn't see my kids and, more importantly, I couldn't see my way out.

I felt my throat start to close up and my chest tighten. My skin became clammy and my heart raced. Tears welled up and I knew I was going to cry or scream or have a seizure at any moment. I needed to calm down, so I did what any panic-stricken, neurosis-embracing mom would do...I inhaled deeply through the nose and out the mouth. In through the nose. Out through he mouth. In through the nose...

Oh No He Didn't!

Oh Yes He Did!

He cut one right in front of me. A big, nasty, stinky one.

I couldn't get past him. I couldn't turn around. I couldn't hold my breath because the deep breathing was the only thing keeping me from full-blown anxiety attack.

So I kept breathing. In through the nose. Out through the...nose. Ain't no way I was opening my mouth in that foul smelling air. In, out, in, out, until I finally just had to laugh.

I heard a sweet voice from up ahead, "Mom, what are you doing?"

"Oh, nothing, sweetie. Just embracing my neurosis."


Who knows? Maybe I would have been okay in that capsule. As long as I remembered to breath. And laugh. Amazingly, that's exactly how the trapped miners seem to keep their sanity, too. The videos of these brave men, smiling and joking and singing in the cave were almost as inspiring as the emerging Phoenix. And nearly as miraculous. The human spirit is a wonderful thing, is it not?

Congratulations to the Chilean miners and their loved ones! You've inspired us to embrace much more than our neurosis. You've inspired us to embrace life, whether it's on Mars, a Space Station, or a deep, dark hole in the ground. God Bless You All!

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