Tuesday, April 16, 2019

How Similar We All Look


How Similar We All Look

When the flame-eaten spire of Notre Dame fell yesterday it caused a pain of grief as sharp as any death.  People gathered on the bridges of Paris - staring, singing - strangers made recognizable to one another by the shared shock of unimaginable loss.  I myself fought against tears all day long, on another continent, many miles away.  Into a dark night the tentacles of collective heartbreak spread and spiraled out over the civilized world.

Notre Dame was a symbol of beauty.  We feel its loss most acutely, for as humans, we need such beauty to fully live.  Anyone who had stood in the Holy light of Notre Dame has stood in the midst of such beauty and felt the presence of God.  And, as the late Irish writer, John O'Donahue, reminds us, "we feel most alive in the presence of the Beautiful for it meets the needs of our soul."  To watch such a structure, one that has withstood the barbs of revolutions and world wars, crumble into dust right before our eyes was shattering.

In this holiest of weeks, it is difficult to view the fiery consummation of one of our world's most beautiful holy places as anything less than an symbol of something vital:  a reminder, a portent, an omen.  We live in a time when we are fervently encouraged to slide backwards into tribalism, when we are told our chief concerns should only be those within our own borders, when we are urged to separate, label and fear.  How quickly those darker impulses fade when our eyes are turned towards the same burning light.  How similar we all look, weeping.

Notre Dame will be rebuilt.  It will rise from the ashes stronger and more beautiful than ever before with the help of a myriad of many-colored hands from many different nations.  For while it is a landmark of Paris, a hallmark of France, it is also a lodestar for the rest of the world, one that points humanity towards hope and light, and we cannot lose its Holy beacon when we need it most.  May yesterday's tragedy awaken our better angels to unite and rebuild not only a broken cathedral, but a broken world.


12 comments:

  1. Beautifully expressed. Thank you.

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  2. I am sharing a link to your blog on my own because you have expressed what needs to be said about this heartbreaking tragedy. Thank you.

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  3. Beautifully written Pamela. Lovely to read you again.

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  4. Thank you, it's comforting to read your sweat message.

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  5. This is a wonderful and heartfelt post. Thank you, Pamela.

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  6. Your post has left me speechless. You have beautifully expressed how so many of us feel. Thank you.

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  7. That is a beautiful tribute to Notre Dame and to our need for the beautiful and for God. I visited this cathedral at least 20 times, so I am sad. But it will rise again as an international effort.

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  8. Thank you for this post. You always find the right words!

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  9. This was just what I needed. Thank you. There have been a few glimmers of the generous spirit of some with $700 million donated so far. It's still far less than the estimated $1 Billion needed, but it warms my heart so many feel touched by this tragedy and those that can afford it have donated large sums.
    Karen

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  10. You have written exactly what I would write if I could only express myself! Lovely post, thank you. x

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  11. I cried as I watched the spire fall. I love old buildings and trees.
    it's as if they have a soul to me. and who knows? perhaps they do. we don't know everything there is to know about existence! I am so grateful for no loss of life and for a great part of it being strong and standing and salvaged from the flames.
    you have written a tour de force here darling bean. as you always do. thank you for putting what most of us feel into words! we become ONE people sometimes. too bad we can't remain that way. xoxo

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  12. Bailey Bob Southern DogJune 14, 2019 at 1:20 PM

    CONGRATULATIONS! ! ! I am waiting eagerly for the book signing party! Will spread the word to all my book reading friends!

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I love to read your comments! Each and every one! Though I'm always reading your comments, I may not respond in the comment section. If you want to write me directly, you may do so at pamela@pamelaterry.net. Thank you for reading!