Not Unsinkable

Titanic“I thought her unsinkable, and I based my opinion on the best expert advice available. I do not understand it.”

-Philip A. S. Franklin, vice president of the International Mercantile Marine Company

I shied away from the dream that lingered on the fringe of consciousness.  In it the news had come out that two bodies had been found deteriorating in a major aquifer.  For some reason I was among the first to know that both bodies were infected with the Ebola virus and that the water for many cities was now contaminated and being consumed by millions.  It was the beginning of the end of life in the United States as we knew it.

I called a friend of mine that same day, Monday, and told her my disturbing dream.  We agreed that we hoped it wasn’t prophetic.  Tuesday morning, with coffee in hand, I sat down to read the news.  “Ebola Confirmed in U.S.”

“There is no doubt in my mind that we will stop it here.”

-Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Now, I’m not spending my day today painting a sandwich board with “The End Is Upon Us!” emblazoned across the front.  I don’t feel afraid.  But I feel aware, very aware of the fact that the CDC’s confident bravado is an unwise posture.  It feels like a big brother puffing out his chest, being the strong man of the hour, and attempting to quell the fears of his younger siblings with his cocksure confidence and swagger.

The Titanic was a pretty amazing ship; it had all the latest technologies.  Our hospitals are pretty amazing too; staffed by well-trained, competent staff.  But there are still icebergs.  There are still errors, which we’ve clearly seen in the communication break-down which led to the patient infected with Ebola to be sent home for two days with antibiotics when a staff member was made aware that he’d been in Liberia.

Pride makes us more vulnerable.  Pride says, “Not here!  Not on my watch!  That happens, over there, in those less-educated, more superstitious cultures where people act in ignorance.”  Oh, America, when will you learn that pride weakens us?  That humility and vigilance are the correct responses; that puffing our chests out just makes us full of hot air?

We are not unsinkable.  Let us pray that God would have mercy on us and forgive our arrogance.




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