A beloved treasure of history and religion suffered major damage due to a fire on Monday. It was a heartbreaking day. I couldn’t function. I was stunned. I wrote about this yesterday.
As I watched the news and found other articles, I learned the current state of Notre Dame. It had entered a restoration process, the first major restoration in over a 100 years, to fix and repair the structure, ceiling and outside facades. The original restoration cost was going to be 100s of millions of euros/dollars. The church sought to get at least €20M – roughly $23M (thats million, folks) to start the process and begin work on restoring the Spire which was causing water damage to the timber roof. (This is the work that we see happening now) The cathedral struggled to find funding. In the end, the cathedral landed with roughly €6M (6.8M dollars). Nearly all of these coming from the Ministry of Culture. Since the French government owns the building, allowing the church to use it for free, I’m assuming this is why the Vatican wasn’t providing the money. The cathedral started a crowd funding program to raise the rest. The archdiocese launched Friends of Notre Dame to raise another €100M over the next ten years.
THEN! FIRE erupted from the Spire and the roof on Monday! We watched in horror as flames reached toward the sky. And as I wrote yesterday, I was amazed to see that most of the church survived. Some of the priceless windows and statues had survived. Yes, the roof was gone. Yes, there is massive water damage to furniture and floors. Amazingly, most of the vaulted ceiling survived as well. Now my point:
Remember when Norte Dame couldn’t find the money it needed to do the restoration? The price tag to fix it was maybe €150M? They were lucky to get €6M! Well, in the last 2 days, French Billionaires, Video Game Developers, French Government and citizens of the world have pledged over €500M! To rebuild! The generosity is amazing. Yet, it took a tragic and devastating fire to bring attention to a marvel of architecture and religious art in need of repairs. One of the donors, the French Government has pledged €20M – this was the original request yet settled on 6M! Yet now the government finds the funding. The new funding also begs questions of why did we let the building get this state? Why didn’t the Billionaires of the country support it prior to the fire? Was it done on purpose? Was it an accident?
Regardless…. one has to wonder, was it a message from God. Was this Devine intervention? I honestly have to place this in the category of:
In the summer of 2016, I was blessed to take a trip to London and Paris. As a enthusiast of history, architecture and art, I was in the heart of some of the greatest sites in Europe. I never thought I would ever make it out of the continental U.S. while growing up nor as an adult have the means to make it overseas. Let’s say that when the opportunity arose, I was head over heels ready for an adventure.
While in Paris, I wanted to bake in the brilliance of one place more than any other. Yes, that place was the Notre Dame Cathedral. I’m amazed at these gothic structures; the artistry involved in their construction; the engineering achievement for the time period! I could stare at the stain glass windows for hours. Although, I’ve suffered with social anxiety and minor obsessive compulsive disorder (I would like to clarify these in regards to me: over the years, my body has decided to create symptoms either when doing something exciting or something I might find uncomfortable. And I’ve found that my mind is always constant moving. This sometimes causes difficulties in concentration and staying focused. I can be easily distracted by another interesting subject or activity. Those that know me, it means I bounce from project to project and it appears I never complete anything. With that being stated….)
Although, I can be plagued with those symptoms, when I enter places like Notre Dame, my mind quiets. My body calms. I feel peace and amazement. Time slows down and I truly feel tranquility. I’ve felt this at other cathedrals and historic sites. Some might theorize that its the power of God. Or I’ve somehow tapped into the metaphysical energy of my surroundings. Regardless what causes it, I marvel at it. I find solace.
So, when I heard that Notre Dame was on fire yesterday I fell to shock. I was horrified. I was sickened. I couldn’t believe it. The images I was witnessing were truly upsetting. I found myself angry and wondering how/why could this happen? I scolded the Parisian Fire Department to hurry and put water on it. I couldn’t understand why the building didn’t have modern fire suppression systems. Instead, it was doomed to ancient fire-fighting techniques – almost as if they were just tossing buckets on the flames. I couldn’t pull myself away from the live coverage. I watched what looked like the entire cathedral engulfed in flames. My heart knew that the interior was lost. 800 years of amazement lost to the ravages of hell on earth. I had to turn off the TV.
Then, I woke up this morning and I saw this image….