Yesterday afternoon I was looking for the weather report on a local news website, as we were expecting snow showers. However, the first thing I saw when I got there was this very alarming photo and accompanying article. This looked like something out of “The Poseidon Adventure” and it was hard to believe this very large cruise ship had run aground, amid what seems like a combination of poor judgment, lack of communication, denial and a severe lack of ability to effectively handle an emergency.
Some of the comments I’ve seen referring to this unfortunate event stated, “This is why I’d never go on a cruise.” I can understand that attitude, but as someone who still plans to go on a cruise someday, all I can do is hope all goes well with my own trip; this would not deter me from going (though I’d choose a different cruise line, given this cruise line’s history of accidents and incidents).
I was thinking of the stories of some of the passengers; there were couples celebrating anniversaries and on honeymoons, a couple on their first cruise as a gift for their many years of volunteer service, people celebrating birthdays, so many happy occasions. The accident happened just a few hours into the trip when many were having dinner or enjoying a show. There were some injuries, but most survived; the unfortunate ones who did not were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I thought about this, and how I’ve been lucky enough to escape death or serious injury in the past, such as when I was hit by a car at age 12. A woman ran a red light as I hurried across the street to catch a bus; I was flipped up and over her car and fortunately escaped with only a few bumps and bruises. But had I been one more step in front of the car, I likely would not be writing this blog entry. I’ve had other close shaves, such as many of us have probably had, being very close to a lightning strike, stepping on a snake and thinking it was a hose, driving and skidding out of control on a patch of ice, for example.
It’s just luck or serendipity that we survive these incidents, but when I read of tragedies such as this and other horrifying events in the news each day, I am thankful to be alive but also cognizant of the fact that life is so very short. I feel a sense of urgency to get on with things I’ve planned to do, but also to create something worth leaving behind when I’m gone, before my chance to do it is snuffed out.
The British often admonish one another to “get on with it,” and in light of this realization that time is precious, that’s what I’m telling myself today.