The historic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France was engulfed in flames a week ago. I’ve thought throughout the week about my personal experience in France and reflected on what social media has produced about the tragedy.
When I was in high school I was fortunate enough to travel to France for a school immersion trip. On that trip, I saw many beautiful things and made memories that I will always cherish. I got to experience Notre Dame and all its beauty and history.
France has such a rich cultural history and architectural beauties that people from all over the world come to marvel at. The Notre Dame Cathedral is certainly one of them. In the wake of the fire, a great outburst of sympathetic travelers from across the globe posted photos, videos and memories of their time in the presence of the over 800-year-old structure.
I thought about how I was fortunate enough to see the cathedral before this incident and how the original spire and internal structure seemed so wonderful at the time. It will always be a great memory heading up to the top and looking out on Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the distance.
“Throughout our history, we have built towns, ports, churches. Many have been burnt due to revolutions, wars, due to mankind’s mistakes. Each time we have rebuilt them.” – French President Emmanuel Macron
It only took a few hours after the flames were stifled for billionaires everywhere to start donating money to restore Notre Dame. The French President vowed to rebuild and many people got behind him and the nation to help.
At first, I thought about donating myself but when more and more people pledged millions of dollars for the project, I realized that there was no need for me to give my money. I’d rather donate to the thousands of other organizations that desperately need funds to make the world a better place. And I wasn’t the only one thinking that. Social media again exploded with questions and comments about the sudden wave of donations.
Why should I donate to a church across the world when there are starving children in my own country? Why donate when I can aid another human in need of basic necessities? So if I’m thinking this, why are all those generous wealthy people donating to the cathedral not thinking it?
It appears that there is in fact money out there to help so many causes that have been in need of donations for decades, so why is a cathedral so important?
Though I am not a religious being in any shape or form I do understand the need to worship and have a basis of faith. I certainly understand the importance of Notre Dame and what it means to people across the world. What I don’t understand is why those that pray for peace and health and positivity, can’t help those in need, but they can rebuild a structure to pray more about those in need.
I do find the fire at the cathedral a tragedy and I do hope that the historic building can be rebuilt for future generations to enjoy. I also implore those coming forward to donate to the rebuild to seek other entities that are in need. Instead of pledging three million to Notre Dame, pledge one million to hunger relief, one million to incurable disease research and still donate that last million to Paris because it is important to preserve our history.
I value a lot in my life and those values won’t be the same for everyone. I value the history of my nation as well as the history of the world that we all share. I also value equality and helping those in need when I can help myself. I value individual beliefs and preserving those beliefs in the face of diversity.
I hope you carry your beliefs with you and always stand by them.
All images are my own.