Last summer, my husband and I made a trans-Atlantic flight; traveling from Philadelphia to London. Air travel is not my favorite activity; however, my love of travel far exceeds my dislike of flying. I was excited about this special trip. It was in celebration of our 30th wedding anniversary!
Our flight was an overnight one. As on many flights, there was a screen with our route being displayed . . . a computer graphic of a tiny jet making its way across the Atlantic Ocean. As we were traveling east, just south of Nova Scotia, something caught my eye on that screen. It was a label close to our position in the middle of the ocean. Titanic 1912. We would be flying very close to the location of where that infamous ship sank, where close to 1,500 people lost their lives, 103 years ago today.
I began to think about that tragic event. Although it was an actual, historic event, much of what the general population knows about it comes from James Cameron’s 1997 Oscar Award-winning film, Titanic. I have watched the movie at least a dozen times. Every time I watch it, I hope that the outcome will be different. Maybe this time they won’t hit the iceberg. Maybe all the lifeboats will be full. But, it never happens. The movie plays out the same way every time. So many “if onlys”.
If only the captain had heeded the warnings about a dangerous ice field ahead
If only the lookouts had seen the looming iceberg sooner
If only they had been able to turn the ship and avoid hitting the iceberg
If only there had been enough lifeboats to accommodate every one on board
If only the lifeboats had been completely filled before they were lowered to the frigid water below
If only the half-empty lifeboats had gone back to pluck survivors from the sea
If only a nearby ship, The Californian had responded to the distress flares sent up by Titanic
If only the Carpathian, another ship, had arrived at the scene sooner
If only everyone involved had not been so arrogant to believe that the ship was unsinkable
Such a tragedy!
That little phrase “if only” stuck in my mind. I thought of another day looming ahead in the future. The day in which we will all stand before God and give an account of our lives. So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. (Romans 14:12). Surely, there will be some “if onlys” on that day too.
If only I had listened to my pastor, mother, father, son, daughter, grandparents, friend
If only I had reached out to my neighbor
If only I had spent more time in God’s word and less time on unimportant things
If only I had prayed more fervently
If only I had been more diligent in serving others
If only . . . If only . . . If only
Dear God, please help me to live my life in such a way that when I stand before you on that day I will not have to think “If only”.