I’ve never been to Paris

Artist: Cristina Correa Freile

I’ve never been to Paris. To be honest, it has only been in recent years that I’ve added it to a list of “places to visit before I die.”

I had a chance to go in 2004 when our choir toured Slovakia and made a stop in Paris on the way. My wife took that trip. For many reasons, I did not. It’s okay.

Since high school, I’d always wanted my first trip to Europe to be to Spain. Specifically to Toledo. To buy a sword. I missed that trip as well as my parents simply couldn’t afford it. Again, it’s okay.

Just another one of those opportunities. But remember yesterday…decisions.

As we watched the cathedral burn on Monday, I thought of another time when, again with the choir, the wife and some friends and I stood at the base of the World Trade Center and decided we didn’t want to spend twelve dollars apiece to go to the top. That was in 1997.

There are many things about which we can be sad this week. Yesterday was the 12th anniversary of the shootings at Virginia Tech. I remember as that day unfolded watching an intern in our office, and later my son, desperately trying to reach friends on campus to see if they were okay.

I do not dismiss the fact that we are in the midst of Holy Week. A week that began with triumph that, by week’s end, descended into darkness. But, Sunday is coming. There is hope.

Notre Dame stood, and I believe will stand again, as a testament to that hope.

But, as we grieve for Paris and the loss of so much beautiful history, we must remember that our hope is not in buildings. It is not in relics.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
—Revelation 21:4

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