I meant to start on this post earlier today, since the kids are out for Spring Break and I didn’t have to be up at the crack of dawn for a change. I was dragging (I’m slacking on taking my iron again and it really shows — remedied for today now) so it just didn’t happen this morning.
Then I saw a terrible headline on social media and was glued to the news.
The Notre-Dame de Paris (the Cathedral) is on fire.
At the time of this writing (8pm EST), firefighters are hopeful that they have saved the main structure and both towers from the blaze (I hope that means all of the bells are safe! They have names and unique histories and are, to me, the most fascinating part of the Cathedral), but the magnificent spire fell, and the entire medieval roof collapsed as well. The battle is not over.
The first photos from inside, even as the fire rages on, are so heartbreaking they make me feel sick to my stomach.
There is no love lost between myself and the Catholic Church…but Notre Dame is so much more than a house of worship. It’s a significant tribute to humanity itself, and is a global treasure visited by 12 million people each year. The sheer artistry and effort that went into such a structure is humbling and inspiring. It’s a testament to what humans can accomplish when we work together, when we pour our hearts and souls into something far greater than any of us or any small group of us could ever hope to achieve alone.
And today, this terrible event has united the world, if only briefly, in grief and in supporting France as she mourns so much history lost. If I had any skill set they could use in the rebuilding of Notre Dame, I would gladly offer it. I think we are going to see outpourings of offers — not just monetary donations, but offers of skills and time, labor and love, showered upon Paris in the coming weeks. This is where the backhanded beauty that is the human response to tragedy really shines.
(Of course, there will be a lot of work to do before rebuilding can even commence…and I think with this, too, there will be volunteers aplenty, needed or not, from both inside and outside of France.)
We humans are pretty darned good at coming together in times of sorrow. This remains one of our most valuable strengths.
Mon coeur est avec la France ce soir. Sois fort, mes amis.