Today is the 108th anniversary of the sinking of the TITANIC. I know because there was a stretch of years when my young son was fascinated by the story. He couldn’t learn enough about the tragic sinking of the iconic vessel and the stories of the people who survived and those who did not.
To be honest, I too was fascinated. And still am. The story seems unreal. The ship was “unsinkable” and yet it went down in just a few short hours after hitting an iceberg in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Jack & Rose made the story come alive on the big screen in 1997 with the hit movie. (We didn’t let my son watch that until he was much older.)
But what is it about the story of the Titanic that captures our attention? The unrealistic reality of what happened? The unimaginable suffering? The catastrophic loss of life? The aftershock of a bad dream come true? Yes. All of it.
But for me, the thing about the story of the Titanic that draws me in and still fascinates me to this day are the stories of the people who were on the ship. There may have been a bit of creative liberty on the part of the director who showcased these people on screen, but there is enough written off screen to tell the whole (true) story of their experiences.
There were men who cowardly dressed as women to get access to the life boats. There were men who courageously and chivalrously ushered “women and children first” to safety. There wives who chose to die with their husbands rather to be separated. Musicians played to calm the crowd and then the music faded with their lives.And there was a captain who valiantly went down with his ship.
These stories within the story are what is so fascinating to me about the Titanic. The individual choices that each person made in the face of unbelievable and inevitable doom. Each person became a character in the story. Some were the heroes and some were the villains.
AND HERE WE ARE.
The reality of Covid-19 on the world will one day be a story that we tell. What part are you playing in the story? What character and role have you assumed without even realizing it?
I’m not suggesting that this ship is going to sink. I’m quite hopeful that Covid-19 will go away, but the stories we tell about it will live on forever. Every part of our history is a story and we are the characters. Or as Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”
No, we are not sinking on the Titanic, but some of us are filled with absolute fear and dread of what is to come. Uncertainty has filled with world and we are face to face with fear. Fear of losing things. Fear of death. Fear of an unknown future.
Fear exposes us.
It’s ok to be afraid during uncertainty, but your actions and words expose who you are. So who do you want to be? Who are you becoming during the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020? What will be your story?
I want to be the Unsinkable Molly Brown. Who according to many accounts urged the rowers in her lifeboat to go back and rescue more people who were drowning in the dark sea. I want to be fearless with my words and actions. I want to try to help others from going under.
Some people are going to come out of this traumatized, and some will move forward with a deeper sense of awareness and gratitude and personal growth. Heroic. That is the story I want to tell. I will not be pulled under by fear. I will create a story for my children that is worth telling. One of trust and truth and unsinkable faith.