Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Avoiding the Titanic

Yesterday, my wife and I visited the Titanic exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Wow. There was so much amazing stuff to see. First of all, you're given a "boarding pass" with the name of someone actually on the ship. At the end of the exhibit, you can find out whether you survived or were among the 1,522 lost at sea.

There's a huge chunk of ice---an iceberg--that you can touch. You can walk down a hallway that was remade to look just like B deck on the ship...even see replicas of first and third class rooms. The exhibit includes jewelery, dishes, watch fobs, clothing and furniture from the doomed ship. It was a bit haunting to realize that you were ogling the personal effects of someone who died a cold and horrifying death in those icy waters some 95 years ago. All of these items sat at the bottom of the ocean for 70-plus years before being brought up for us to see. But of all the pieces on display, one item really stuck out for me. A pair of binoculars.

You see, when the Titanic launched, the crew forgot a crucial piece of equipment. They forgot to provide a pair of binoculars for the lookouts working in the Crow's Nest. Frederick Fleet and Reginald Lee stood up in the post of the forward mast looking out for icebergs. The ship had received a couple of iceberg warnings hours before her fatal collision.

If Fleet or Lee had been given the much needed binoculars, would they have seen the iceberg long before it was too late? Would the disaster have been avoided? Think about that. Over 1500 lives spared. A tragic story never written. Someone on that ship had a pair of binoculars. Today, those binoculars are sitting in a glass case in the Titanic exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Had that person just loaned the binoculars to one of the lookouts, perhaps there never would have been a Titanic tragedy.

That got me thinking. How many times in our lives are we in a situation to help someone out of a problem with something we already have? Is there a child in your church who would love to go to summer camp, but just can't afford it? Do you have the money? Think about how that could change that child's life. The experiences...the lessons learned...perhaps the disasters avoided. All because you loaned your "binoculars" to someone who needed them.

This holiday season, we have a lot to be thankful for. But I wonder how many families are facing disaster out there, waiting for someone to lend them a pair of binoculars. How many disasters can be avoided by our willingness to share what we have...with someone who desperately needs it to survive?

No comments: