Dear <<First Name>>,
Regardless of your religious affiliation and spiritual beliefs, the tragic burning of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has touched the world. The videos of Parisians and tourists watching in silence as they witnessed the burning flames and smoke coming from the 850-year-old iconic cathedral was moving. Even more emotional was the sounds of the crowd singing hymns together in harmony.
My daughter and I spent 9 days in Paris in late March of this year. We walked 18000 steps a day, taking public transportation to museums, cathedrals, gardens and restaurants. Our time at Notre Dame and the Archeological Crypt gave us insight into the depth of meaning and influence this sanctuary of French history holds. Together we attended a performance of Gregorian Chant at an evening concert at Notre Dame. Sitting in the wooden chairs, listening to the resonance of chant without audio enhancement was captivating. (Whoever thought that Gregorian chant could be captivating:)?
The unfolding of the fire sent chills through my body - how could this be happening?
Well………..they call the roof “the forest” because it took a forest of 12th and 13th Century trees to build it. Not a surprise that with that much dry kindling - the roof and spire collapsed early on. Actually, the fact that it is being assessed as an accident associated with the restoration work is also reasonable.
This is Holy Week. The French have withstood many dark moments in their history and they are what we might call resurrection people. They are grieving, they are not attaching blame to any single source and are making plans to rebuild - as President Macron said, “this is our destiny”.
There is a clear message for all of us. When things go wrong, sometimes it is understandable, reasonable, or we knew it was a possibility. It could be a failed marriage, death of a loved one, the closing of a business, loss of a job, our health or a significant closed door that we assumed would always be open. Instead of searching for someone or something to blame, we can choose to set our sites on gratitude. In this case, several of the statues around the restoration site had been removed and relocated to a safe place the previous week. The relics and works of art were safely removed and the cross is still in its original place. They have even found the rooster that sat at the peak of the spire!
Take a look at this stunning picture of the interior. This picture is taken at exactly the same spot we sat just 3 weeks ago.
The final stage of recovery is the will to rebuild; the French have already started raising and receiving resources to rebuild. It is very important to understand that we cannot rebuild, or resurrect, with full power until we have acknowledged the part we played in the loss, what was out of our control and how to forgive the actions of others.
We choose to be resurrection people.
“Resurrection people are people who can see the possibility of new life.” (Adam Fronczek, Knox Presbyterian Church)
We have the power to rebuild our lives, resurrect our will and draw together the strength to do it.
We are in this life together, ready to help each other rebuild, re-plant, grow and thrive again!
In the Spirit of Strengths,