“I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that.”
You probably know who said that. Even if you don’t know his name, you might know it must be related to the disaster of April 15, 1912. Several years before the “unsinkable” Titanic sank, Captain Edward Smith made that pronouncement. “It can’t happen to me!”
The ship went down in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic after striking an iceberg. The toll was horrific – 1517 men, women, and children lost their lives. “It can’t happen to me!”
When they boarded the ship on April 8, 1912, in Southampton, they could not have anticipated what awaited. The reputation of the pride of the White Star line was trumpeted by media sources which marveled at the advanced technology and superior engineering. The line had never made such a boast, but they didn’t discourage the “unsinkable” claim.
One writer, on the 100th anniversary of the event, noted: “The sinking ship continues to be a morality play about what happens when humans buy their own hype. If the Titanic teaches us anything, it’s that we are all, indeed, sinkable. “It can happen to me.”
Is it arrogance? Is it ignorance? What makes us think we are invulnerable? No one wants to dwell on the possibility of tragedy. We simply cannot go through life untouched by misery and heartbreak. We know that … we just don’t want to think too much about it.
As Titanic steamed full speed ahead, it received warnings of hazardous ice flows. She never slowed down. There were problems below decks that were never addressed, a faulty rudder that had not been upgraded, and lifeboats that could hold only 52% of those on board.
There are certainly times when we cannot avoid trouble, but there are also times when we need to pay attention to areas of our lives that need addressing. Perhaps we should start by looking “below decks”. The book of Proverbs contains some applicable insight: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do” (Proverbs 4:23).