I was in a hurry Tuesday morning and did not have a lot of time. Had I had more time yesterday, I would have said something like, “We all awoke this morning for the first time to a world ungraced by Notre Dame de Paris.” I’m glad I didn’t. Notre Dame is badly damaged, but it will be rebuilt. A hundred years from now, visitors will marvel at the Gothic cathedral, and the fire of 2019 will be another chapter in a long history of glory, decay, restoration and veneration. For what it’s worth, that’s what I think.
And in the past 24 hours, the florid language of others and their vacation snapshots have more than sufficed. Today, I can feel comfortable showing you the above vacation snapshot, which I entitled, “God, overseeing the construction of Notre Dame.” Actually that isn’t God. It’s me! My nephew, who was 13 at the time, took this photograph inside the church. It was a glass-encased diorama depicting how early construction of Notre Dame might have appeared. I suspect the display didn’t survive, but I don’t know.
I’m more of a Back-Sliding Baptist than a Fallen-Away Catholic, but you can’t love Paris and not love Notre Dame. I feel better about things than I did Tuesday. For some reason, we Americans habitually underestimate the French. (I have this crazy theory that it’s because the two national characters are a lot alike.) They are very ingenious people. After all, they built the place when Vikings were still rattling around Canada. I am glad my nephew and I got to see it.