Tonight, of course I am thinking of Paris. I’ve walked by Notre Dame so many times on trips I’ve taken to my favorite city, though it’s been a few years since I’ve gone inside. More often than not, I go to watch the crowds gathering in the square out front. Together, the space and the cathedral draw people again and again, including those who come for the architecture, the art, the detail, the religion, the history, the grandeur, and the marvel of it all.
I find myself considering how, whenever something bad happens in Paris, I want to be there. Like a lover who is hurting, my heart is pulled towards it not only when times are good, but also when the city reels. 5,000 miles away, I discover anew that a part of me is always there, wanting so badly to belong to this place that I love. I will never be French, yet like so many others, I left a corner of my heart in Paris years ago. I’ve never been the same since, and I’ll always be grateful for that.
And so my heart – reduced though it may be – goes out to the people of Paris, with enormous gratitude to those who fought this fire, and tremendous faith in those who are already working to rebuild what has been lost.