Ponderings at 36,000 Feet

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!

Flight Path Over AtlanticOur 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”.

2 thoughts on “Ponderings at 36,000 Feet

  1. Great way to help us pause and think about “if only”. That was a grand ship and so many stories could be formed if you had the ability to interview ALL the passengers, dead and alive. I wonder if there would be a common thread in their troubling accounts … regrets, etc.



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