Some of the passengers had waited their entire lives for this amazing opportunity, saving their hard-earned wages, reading up on tour books and collecting travel brochures, and dreaming of the adventure that lay ahead. Perhaps a few were seasoned travelers, having made several similar voyages in the past, and although there was no denying the joyous occasion, their enthusiasm was balanced with a dose of reality. There may have even been some who felt anxiety and trepidation about the impending passage, unsure of how susceptible they are to seasickness, or how the unfamiliar food will taste, or what unknown dangers lay in the middle of the ocean when no land is in sight. But whoever they were and whatever their personal thoughts and emotions at that particular moment, once the ocean-liner left the dock, they knew that there would be no turning back.
Everything was smooth sailing for the first several days into the voyage, the passengers enjoying themselves and beginning to feel comfortably at home. Even those who were initially reluctant to embark on this journey were mostly likely asking themselves, “What was I ever afraid of?” Anyone who was outside that night would have noticed the beautiful moon reflecting off of the dark water. Inside, amidst the sparkling chandeliers and ornate decorations, the impeccably dressed passengers never suspected the danger that loomed just under the surface.
Sadly, however, some families are not so fortunate. The small leaks and structural defects in their relationship are simply not capable of withstanding the battering winds and maritime hazards. Jobs and financial security are lost. Frustration at minor annoyances becomes violent, uncontrollable rage. Occasional partying becomes a strangling addiction. The children onboard are no longer safe. The family that began with such hope and promise isn’t able to stay the course. They are going to sink.
What made the shipwreck so heartbreaking? Due to carelessness and improper planning, there weren’t enough lifeboats for everyone. The lifeboats that were available were carefully lowered into the water and safely rowed away. Unbelievably, they were less than half-full. Of the more than 2,227 passengers and crew members on board that night, only 705 survived.1 What a senseless tragedy!