This is a little off-topic, but I thought I’d tell my favorite story- the tale of the Titanic’s tragic end.
On a cold night in April of 1912, the RMS Titanic, deemed unsinkable and invincible by all who spoke of her, scraped against an iceberg, causing the massive steel plates on her side to buckle and letting the icy ocean water pour into her belly. The Titanic received not one, not two, but TWENTY-ONE warnings of pack ice from various ships. Once the “watertight” compartments had been breached and the ship began to sink, word of the ship’s impending demise began to spread slowly throughout the passengers. What began as mild alarm and confusion swiftly became full-fledged panic. Cries of “Women and children on the lifeboats first!” filled the air. Sadly, those noble intentions led to a watery grave for over 80 percent of these brave men. Only 706 of the 2,223 passengers on the Titanic survived this tragedy.
If one little thing had gone differently, the Titanic might have steamed merrily along to its New York destination. If the telegraph operator had been more attentive, if the lifeboat regulations had been more realistic and rigidly enforced, if the captain had varied his path by even a quarter mile, if the lookout had spotted the iceberg a tiny bit earlier, if the ship hadn’t tried to turn to avoid the iceberg, if it had been maintaining a lower speed, if the attitudes of all aboard hadn’t been so supremely confident that the vessel was invincible….
Yes, this tragedy could have been avoided. But from this sorrow we can take some words of wisdom. Although it turned out that the Titanic was ultimately doomed, if any one of the uncountable details that contributed to the sinking had been different, it may never have occurred. And so it is with our lives. One path and the decisions along it may lead to a sticky end or a miserable existence. But we have the free will to CHOOSE our paths. We can choose a path that makes us ultimately happy, and we can even take detours and make mistakes along the way. Even changing one little detail about your current life could set you on a whole new path, one not headed toward a gigantic iceberg.
I chose this story because I have always been fascinated with the intricacies of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. Very possibly because of a certain movie starring the luscious Leonardo DiCaprio…. but also just because I love history, and it’s intriguing to imagine all the decadence and luxury of another time and the emotions, thoughts, and feelings of every person on that ship, survivor or not. It’s sad that it took an event like this to achieve it, but man has now learned that it is folly to deem any vehicle of air, water, or land “invincible.”