I had the opportunity recently to go see the Titanic. The exhibit, not the movie. I’ve seen the movie. I’ve seen the documentaries. I’ve even been through the exhibit before. But this time was different. Maybe it’s because this is the 100th anniversary. Maybe it’s because the only place I went that day was the exhibit and therefore wasn’t all worn out and could get my ADeeDee mind to pay attention. Maybe my heart had grown three sizes that day. Or maybe it’s just because I’ve grown up a little since the last time (probably not that). Whatever the reason, the difference was that it really affected me… really made me think about what it would have been like to be on that ship that night.
You’ve been to the exhibit, right? (right?!?) Well then you know that they’ve done it right. When you enter you’re given the name of an actual passenger on the ship, and if you’re paying attention as you walk through, you feel what it must have been like to be on that voyage, on that historic adventure. You board the ship at the beginning (well you can’t very well board it in the middle now can you??) and are taken through each level and get to see actual rooms and furnishing and pictures and luggage and letters. (I don’t know about you, but I intend to write a strongly worded letter to the White Star Line about all this.) You get to see the lavishness and read about the splendor and how even in steerage, down where the seminar attendees stay, things were pretty darned good.
And then you read about people telling the captain to slow it down. And how he didn’t. And how very dark and cold it was outside, while inside the band played and people sipped their soup and drank their wine and felt superior to everyone else and all seemed right with the world. What could go wrong?
And then you hear and feel the shudder of the engines… and feel the coldness of the ice… and read the calls for help and the responses that, for many, came too slowly from much too far away. And at the end of the tour, you get to find out if ‘you’ survived the trip or if you stayed on the deck and went down with the ship… sinking into your final resting pose in the icy depths… fading into the cold darkness. (wow! this post is so depressing!)
Now. You should know something. It wasn’t an iceberg that sank the Titanic. (no really!) It was a string of events, the iceberg just capping it off (see what I did there??). It started with the ship’s design; the zinc used in the metal and the inferior rivets used that made the ship fragile from the moment it entered the water. And the tides were such that icebergs were farther south than expected. But the most avoidable thing that sank the ship was human arrogance (oh and yes I know a little about that. shut up.) A ship so well built that it was unsinkable. That lifeboat drills were cancelled. That the radio room was frequently empty and even once the SOS was sent out, it was with older terminology so that nearby ships didn’t realize there was trouble. Even the flares that were sent up were thought to be fireworks of celebration.
And as I wandered through that exhibit, I couldn’t help but think (yes, I still do that from time to time) how very similar the story of our own lives are to the story of the Titanic. (wait for it….)
Don’t get me wrong… I’ve had a good life. I don’t have many regrets. I’ve had some excellent adventures and have some pretty amazing kids and pictures to show for it. (even some videos around here somewhere)… but I’ve spent so much of my life pushing through the icy waters, not heeding any warnings, just going as fast as I can, arrogant and hoping everything would work out in the end… that I’d set records and be wonderful and celebrated. And even though there were many danger signs, many who called out to me, who tried to warn me, I just plunged headlong into that iceberg. :-/
And as with the Titanic, it wasn’t a single event that sank me. It was a series of bad choices and wrong turns and not seeing the signs and.. well.. it was a lot of things. But it was also my own personal iceberg. And if you know me (and I think by now you do a little), you know that it’s not enough for me to just run into an iceberg and move on. Oh no, I’ve had to back up and run into it again and again and again. (and again… see where this is goin?) And before I knew what was happening… I was goin’ down.
The Carpathia was the ship that arrived first to the disaster that was the Titanic. She picked the passengers from the icy water and wrapped them in blankets and gave them coffee and hot chocolate and tea and hope and reason when they thought all was lost. And so are you my own Carpathia … you sailed in and rescued me… picked up the pieces of me and carried me away to safety.
I know I don’t say enough how grateful I am to have you (yes you!) here with me. How grateful I am that you rescued me and that I have you to cling to… and to have you as a safe, warm place when I’m feeling lost and alone. And I hope you know that I will always be here to help you when you feel like you’re sinking, to be with you when life seems too cold and dark. And to give you coffee and tea and hope and reason.
You keep rescuing me and I’ll keep rescuing you right back, mkay?