I’m not here to comment on how the fire started or how much of a tragedy it is. From what it sounds like a great many of the treasures that helped to make Notre Dame what it was were spared and in some cases removed before the blaze started. Instead however, my words are for those that see this as a tragedy.
It is without a doubt a regrettable and unforeseeable moment that has struck a blow in the hearts of many individuals. But as we’re taught from the moment we’re capable of understanding, nothing lasts forever. It’s enough to know that the structure will be rebuilt, that future generations will know what happened and how humanity still persevered to rebuild and remember what came before. Nothing in this world is built to last as we think it is, as everything fades eventually.
Some might argue that we in the west will never know this pain, though in truth we know it at least a bit. It is very true that we know nothing about losing something that’s been part of our history for as long as Notre Dame stood, as the structure was older than country by far. But we know the anguish of watching a symbol fall, we know the pain of seeing something that represented what we stand for and what we treasure be taken from us. There are vast differences between this day and 9/11 of course, as Notre Dame was, as it’s been believed so far, to be an accident, whereas 9/11 was done with great intent.
The point I’m trying to make is that the workings of humanity are impermanent no matter how we look at them. “Built to last” typically means within the scope of humanity. There’s nothing to say that anything our species has built would be here in another thousand years if we ceased to exist. the fortunate part of this debacle is that Notre Dame can and will be rebuilt, so that those who come after us will have something to marvel at.
It is a sad day for certain, but lifting your chin to the days ahead is preferable to bowing it in defeat.