The fire that ravaged through Notre Dame on Monday left me devastated. I’ve never been to Notre Dame so I’m not going to pretend that I have a meaningful connection or amazing memories of it, but going to Notre Dame is something that I’ve been dreaming about for a very long time. I’ve known about it since I was a small child and as someone who has always been fascinated by old, gorgeous cathedrals, it’s always been one of my top places that I’ve wanted to see. I haven’t had the chance to go to France yet; it isn’t something that I’ve been able to afford up until this point. Finally, this year, Nick and I have a very exciting trip to Europe planned and Paris is the main stop. But now, we’re going to be four months too late to see Notre Dame. We were so excited to see it. We were planning on touring it and attending Mass. I had gone on Google Maps and taken a “walk” from our Airbnb to the cathedral to see how far away it was and what the street views of it looked like. I was so excited to finally see this gorgeous place that I’d been dreaming of for so long.
I’m not writing this to make the events on Monday about me, definitely not, but to emphasize why I feel that traveling and living in the now are so important. Nick and I are too late to see what now will be the former Notre Dame, we are still going to see it for sure, but it’ll be the start of its new chapter. We’ll see the outside of it, the under construction version of the monument in this new transitional period. Monday’s horrific events left me so in shock that a magnificent piece of history and the heart and soul of Paris – no matter how durable we think it is – is not indestructible. The places that we dream of seeing, the bucket lists that we create, the plans that we push off for a little bit longer, can easily come crumbling down at any moment. This life is too short to not go after what you want, to see the world, to live for today. Even our timeless monuments aren’t permanent and you never know when it will be too late. If someone had told me years ago that Notre Dame would go up in flames in 2019 before I got to see it, I would’ve made way more of an effort and ensured that I got out there before then.
That being said, I am so grateful that we still get to see it at all. The fire could have wreaked so much more havoc and I’m thankful to the brave firefighters and police officers who risked their lives and acted quickly. It’s a miracle that no one was killed and that the fire happened after the cathedral was closed. This was a very devastating wake up call for me. Don’t be four months too late to see something that you’ve been dreaming of seeing. Go now. Nothing is here forever and I’m lucky that I get to see Notre Dame at all. Like many monuments before it, it can be rebuilt, and I am already looking forward to the day that I can finally go inside and attend Mass. I started this blog to inspire people to live in the now and never settle. Sometimes, I myself need a reminder of that too and unfortunately, this was it.