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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Open Doors

Some more marriage advice, courtesy the Imperial Japanese Navy. Nice to have an entire arm of a country's armed forces on call to help, eh?

During World War Two in the Pacific, the aircraft carrier came into its own as the Queen of Battle. Good news for the US; though we started the war with fewer hulls than the Japanese, we had the shipyard capacity to turn out a fleet of them in a very short time.

Japan, on the other hand, could never hope to match the output of the US, and every loss was a disaster that moved them measurably closer to defeat.  The Imperial Navy commissioned only a few carriers during the war, and of these, two were superlative in their own right. The Taiho was possibly the best aircraft carrier to be fielded by any of the combatants, and the Shinano was the largest, and the largest warship in the world until well into the 1950s.

And both were lost before they could make an impact, for the same reason...open doors.

Taiho was torpedoed, and though not badly damaged suffered leaks in the fuel tankage system for the aircraft she carried. Certain areas on the ship were unusable due to gasoline fumes, so watertight doors were opened, and fans turned on to vent them. Unfortunately, they were more spread than vented, turning Taiho into the largest fuel-air bomb ever built. The result, several hours later, was predictable, and lethal.

Shinano was lost in Japan's Inland Sea, on its maiden voyage. It was so new that the paint was still drying, and watertight doors were left open to vent the nasty-smelling vapors. The carrier crossed the path of the submarine USS Archerfish, and when it was torpedoed its watertight integrity was nonexistent, and Shinano went to the bottom forthwith. Had the doors been closed, she would have survived handily, for Shinano was built on a tough battleship hull.

Open doors sink ships, and sometimes they sink us.

What kind of open doors do you have in your life? Have you opened the door to gossip, thinking it won't hurt? Or to pornography, since it's not real, anyway, and what's the harm?

Or is the open door the image in your mind of your house, gleaned from years of Better Homes And Gardens, making a showpiece of a structure with exquisite decorations, but a cold and unwelcoming excuse for a home?

Or is it your '63 Corvette, because everyone needs a hobby, right?

These open doors don't do any harm on a daily basis, and sometimes we can make a case for them helping us cope with the bad days, or more fully enjoy the good. But each of them admits something foreign to our lives, something that divides us from spouse and family, something that walls us off from the Almighty.

The reckoning may not come; we may be lucky, and sail our perilous seas undamaged. But the fumes may be gathering, and it takes only a spark to set it off...a careless word to a neighbor, that shouldn't have been repeated but was, can estrange a spouse. Or a browser window that you meant to close, but the dog threw up and your wife came home...and your life together is forever c.hanged

Or the car takes so much of your time...you win a trophy and want more, for the meticulous work you did. And Sundays are prime hobby days, so your church attendance starts to get waterlogged, and as the progressive flooding continues your prayer life becomes more and more sluggish, wallowing low int he water, waves breaking over the deck, and there's no Figure walking across the water to save you.
Open doors.

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