. . . though surprise has been expressed by very many, it only goes to prove that “with God all things are possible.”
It is difficult to tell of the experience…
By Lieut. C. H. Lightoller
From the October, 1912 issue of The Christian Science Journal
While the Titanic was sinking, and during the whole time I was working at the boats, I held to the truth, thereby eliminating all fear. I do not pretend that any man can go down on a ship at midnight, in mid-Atlantic, and succeed in eliminating fear, without hard work. It was hard work.
Looking down I could see that all material work was finished, so from where I was on top of the quarters and above the bridge, I faced forward and walked into the water. The sudden immersion in this penetratingly cold water for a few seconds overcame all thought, and I struck out blindly for the crow’s-nest which is on the foremast and was at that time just above the water. In a couple of seconds I realized that the crow’s-nest and all other material help was of the same value, and almost immediately I found myself drawn with great force against the grating covering the mouth of the forward blower, a huge ventilator leading down to the forward stoke-hold. In this position I went below the surface with the ship.
I want to emphasize strongly this point, that as soon as I collected my thoughts after taking to the water, I remember saying to myself, “Now, I’ll see how much I have learned from Christian Science.” A doubt never entered my mind as to the possibility of my surviving; in other words, of the ability of the divine power to save me. I think I can conscientiously say that with this thought all fear left me, and I commenced again to realize the truth of being. It was at this moment that I was drawn into the water, still realizing the truth, and while I was below the surface these words from the 91st Psalm came to me so distinctly that I seemed to realize their full import:”He shall give his angels charge over thee.” Immediately, I think, I was thrown away from the blower, and came up to find a piece of wood in my hand which seemed to be attached to the top of the funnel by a wire. I remained still, while the water rushed past me carrying the people with it away from me. A second time I went down, still holding fast to the truth, and again came to the surface. My piece of wood was gone, but alongside me was the flat-bottomed collapsible boat which I had thrown down on the other side of the ship. This I laid hold of, but made no attempt to board it.
I want it to be understood that during this time in the water the fact came calmly and clearly that there was a divine power which could be utilized in a practical manner, and also it seemed perfectly natural to rely on this power with the spiritual understanding which is so often spoken of in the Bible, and which is explained in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mrs. Eddy. Now, with the sinking of a great ship like the Titanic, there was also the fear of suction to overcome, and at this time the forward funnel fell, throwing the boat, myself, and other survivors about twenty feet clear of the ship, so that of suction we felt nothing.
—Lieut. C. H. Lightoller, R.N.R.
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