Personal Restoration Renovation and Conservation: On Sinking… PART ONE (of two posts)
On the afternoon of April 11, 1912 the luxury liner known as the “Titanic” set sail.
Constructed in Belfast, Ireland it took 2 years and more than 10,000 workers to build what was, at the time, the world’s largest ocean liner.
Because of it’s size and engineering (16 new fan-dangled watertight compartments designed to keep the behemoth afloat) it was considered unsinkable and there was much fan fare as the mammoth ship left the docks that day.
This maiden voyage was scheduled to sail from Queenstown, Ireland to New York City in the United States of America….but as we all know it didn’t make it to that original destination….
Only 4 days into the journey, the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank to the bottom of the frigid Atlantic ocean.
Here is a brief, and over simplified, order of events:
*April 11, 1:30 PM: The Titanic sets sail.
*April 11-April 13: Everyone enjoys the food, the boat, and the ambiance because the Titanic was, indeed, a beautiful ship.
*April 14, 9:00 AM: The senior wireless operator starts to receive warnings of icebergs from other vessels further to the west.
*April 14, 11:00 AM: Captain Smith cancels the scheduled life boat drill…which ultimately results in the crew being unrehearsed when the actual lifeboat evacuation began.
*April 14, 12:00 PM: The wireless operator receives another iceberg warning.
*April 14, 5:30 PM: The air temperature begins to steadily drop.
*April 14, 7:20 PM: Another iceberg warning
*April 14, 9:30 PM: Another iceberg warning
*April 14, 9:40 PM: Another iceberg warning
*April 14, 10:55 PM: A ship (the Californian) farther ahead on the route reports they have stopped for the night due to dangerous conditions…icebergs.
*April 14, 11:00 PM: Wireless operator, busy sending and receiving other messages, replies to the Californian to “shut up”.
The fatal iceberg is now only 15 miles ahead as the Titanic sails directly towards it at full speed.
*April 14, 11:39 PM: The lookout in the crows nest spots an iceberg…he rings the bell 3 times to send a warning…the engines are immediately turned off…but it is too late. The iceberg is less than 1,000 yards ahead.
April 14, 11:40 PM: As the engines are thrown into reverse and the Titanic is frantically being steered away from the iceberg the ship hits the berg, striking and then scraping along the starboard side.
The collision at first was deemed relatively insignificant. However, the blow damaged 200 feet of the ship puncturing holes that quickly began to fill 5 of the 16 air tight containers with water.
The Titanic was designed to withstand the failure of 4 containers…but 5 were too many…and the ship would soon begin to sink.
April 15, 12:00 AM: The Captain sends out an emergency call to all nearby ships. Sadly, the closest ship, the Californian, was only 20 miles away and would have been able to reach the Titanic before it sank. Unfortunately, they had turned off their communication for the night shortly after the Titanic had sent them the message to “shut up”.
April 15, 12:20 AM: The Captain gives orders to start loading the lifeboats. Frustratingly, not only were the boats not loaded to capacity but, there were only enough life boats to carry roughly half of the estimated 2,227 passengers on board.
April 15, 12:25 AM: Another ship (the Carpathia) sends notice that they are on their way to help…but are almost 60 miles away…which, at that time, would take about 4 hours to arrive.
April 15, 2:10 AM: The last lifeboats are lowered into the Atlantic.
Roughly 1,500 people remained onboard the failing Titanic.
April 15, 2:18 AM: Loud noises are heard as the giant body of the Titanic breaks completely in half. The bow (the front of the ship)already low in the water, sinks under the surface of the waves.
April 15, 2:20 AM: The stern (the back end of the ship) follows the bow and begins its descent to the bottom of the Atlantic.
April 15, 4:10 AM: The Carpathia arrives and starts to pick up the survivors in the lifeboats. There were scarcely more than 700 of the original 2,227 passengers that were found alive.
The Titanic lies 12,600 feet, nearly 2.5 miles, beneath the surface of the water.
The ruins can be found approximately 370 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. Still broken in two, the pieces of the Titanic are strewn across more than 2,000 feet of the ocean floor under a blanket of cold, dark sea water.
A silent monument to what once was…
Now, never did I ever imagine that I would find myself making a meaningful personal connection with a boat.
Because honestly what do I have in common with a maritime vessel?
But then I went to visit the Titanic Artifact Exhibition…and here we are….and not only are we here but I’m all in and am a writing a two part blog post about the connection I feel.
Writing because recently as I stood in front of a giant piece of the hull that has been reclaimed from the depths of a cold, dark ocean I realized that at one point or another we are all the Titanic.
The Titanic really was pretty awesome…top of the line, state of the art, beautiful inside and out….taking years to plan, build, and perfect…its completion meant that the age of indestructible, luxury liners had finally arrived!
Does her story sound familiar?
At least, it did to me.
How often do we put time, effort, planning, energy, and love into something we believe in…schooling, a career, a relationship, our children, a new home, or a dream vacation? And when all that effort pays off and we “arrive” with that degree, that promotion, that wedding, that house, that (fill in the blank) it feels pretty good.
Actually it feels better than that….it feels AMAZING and we feel almost indestructible.
Heck, we were built for this!!!
It is full steam ahead.
And we are off and sailing when the temperature starts to change, our surroundings start to shift, and neighboring vessels such as family, friends, and co-workers, start to give us cautionary advice or warnings.
But how can things go wrong? We are working and moving forward and doing our best.
We have a plan and we’ve got this!!
Until we don’t.
Until the iceberg is right ahead…the unwanted medical diagnosis, the family crisis, the car accident, the unfaithful spouse, the lay offs, the flooded basement….and so we swerve and try to self protect.
We slow, try to change course and minimize damage…but…we still feel the impact.
In fact, the impact rips us open…tears a million tiny holes within us…each one a tender sore.
Maybe if we had hit the iceberg head on…or had avoided it all together….but we can’t change the past…and here we are torn apart, taking on water and beginning to sink.
Sinking under the weight of all the holes that continue to puncture us at our weakest point:the passive words from a co-worker, unforeseen expenses, the negative comments on Facebook, stress, loss of income, world unrest, illness, addiction, food shortages, political shenanigans, etc. etc. etc.
We try to hold it together but we feel ourselves sinking.
We’ve taken on too much water.
And then suddenly…against our will…we break.
Our courageous hearts, our strong spirits, our beautiful souls are in pieces.
Down we go.
Down to a dark, cold, isolated place.
Where we lay on the ocean floor, wrecked and held tight by the pressure of thousands of pounds of salty sea water.
So…what happens next?
Do we just stay there alone and damaged in that frozen wasteland?
Hell, freaking, NO!
We do not.
We will not.
It may take us time but we will find ourselves again….it took the Titanic more than 70 years to be found…but she was found….and changed…and magnified…and has become an icon.
How was she found? What was reclaimed? What has resurfaced?
I will write about it soon but for today I want to stop here.
Here in the dark and the cold and murk and the mud and the loneliness of this scary place.
Here, because if this is where you are I want you to know, that even if every fiber of your being feels like you are alone….you are not alone….it’s so dark that you might not see those who are down in the mud right next to you…wrecked in the murk and in desperate need of repair…but still rooting for your resurrection. And there are others coming with unseen and unexpected life lines…so don’t give up. Don’t give up! You are still needed. You are still wanted. Even though it seems impossible (and trust me I know what this feels like) you can still rise.
I’m also stopping here, because if you have been there…and have risen from the depths….you know. You know how black the darkness can be and you know what a climb it is to resurface. Take a minute to breathe…own your awesomeness….and remember that yes, indeed after recovering from a fall like that you are pretty near indestructible. If you know, you know.
And finally I am stopping here because if you haven’t been down to the depths…I hope you never join the club. With all my heart I hope that for you. But if and when that iceberg ever surfaces….you are in good company…at some point we are all the Titanic.
It doesn’t seem fair to leave you here freezing at the bottom of the Atlantic, but we won’t stay here for long.
Search parties are on the way.
And you can be found.
***Once the part 2 of this post: Personal Restoration Renovation and Conservation: On Sinking… and Resurfacing is published I will link to it here.***
****It has been awhile since I’ve written a post that is a part of the our Personal Restoration, Renovation, and Conservation Series…but I’m counting this as one of those posts….and I promise I have lots more coming soon.