Dear Notre Dame,
Your beauty has touched almost every decade of my life so far…each time in a different way.
As a teenager, I stopped by on a whistle stop tour of Europe. Notre Dame, you were magnificent – overwhelming – dominating the Parisian skyline. But I was young. I was inexperienced. I was oblivious to your beauty. I was tired from hours of travelling and wanted to go to coffee shops with my friends. I look back on my ignorance and am embarrassed at how little I marvelled over you at that time.
In my 20’s, I visited with an ex. I was young, energetic and excited to travel further and deeper. This time I admired your statues and gargoyles. I also managed to admire some more of Paris – Sainte Chapelle and Monmartre. Yet I was unfulfilled in life. I was working hard as an RE teacher, working more hours than should exist in the working week. Not to mention that I was spending my life with the wrong person. This would soon take its toll.
In my 30’s, I returned with my fiance. I was no longer working hard in a teaching career, I was following my own path. I was Temple Seeker! Not only could I admire the statues of the Saints, but I could now identify some of them. I walked around to admire your buttresses. Finally, I entered your house of God and walked down your nave and into your side chapels.
Yet this most recent visit was overshadowed. I suffered from severe endometriosis and I felt abdominal pain with every step. I had fallen out with my gorgeous fiance that weekend, because after almost a two year engagement, we still didn’t have a wedding date. I was breaking….in more ways than one.
Then, just yesterday, I heard some terrible news. A cathedral – a French Cathedral in flames – during renovation. Surely, it could not be you. It was you. Devasted doesn’t come close to how I feel to see 850 years of history, culture and religion engulfed and bellowing smoke. Residents of your beautiful city along with your many visitors stood by along the banks of the Seine in disbelief. Your spire destroyed, along with two third of your roof. The cathedral that has spanned every decade of my adult life…I almost don’t know what to say…..
Other than this…
Our Lady of Paris, you see that the pattern will continue. I will visit you again in my 40s. I will be return with my husband. I will be stronger and more beautiful than ever. I will be living a fulfilled life and serving my purpose. And so will you, Notre Dame, so will you.
Many thanks to everyone who has donated towards the rebuilding of Notre Dame. So far donations from millionaires and multinational companies are flooding in, as well as funds from the general public.