I’ll admit it, I cried.
I also started my period that day and I was incredibly hormonal, and I also cried over a baggie of Plexus stuff my late sister had sent me later this week. But I did cry.
I cried for me.
I have studied French since my Freshman year of high school. I can’t speak it well, and I can’t write in it worth a damn, but I read it fine and I love the language and most of the culture. I’ve always wanted to go – it’s been on my bucket list for years – and I have to calm an incredible jealousy inside me when I see other people go and I haven’t. So when Notre Dame burned, I cried.
I cried when the spire fell. I had flashbacks, watching that footage, to a freshman me in English class listening without understanding, to the terror on the Twin Towers. I only understood later when I watched the news – I had never actually learned about the Twin Towers or knew what they were, but watching those plans collide into them carried with it a gravity I had previously never known. I cried then, too, of course.
And I cried when Syria first started bombing its own citizens. The photo of the dead woman in bed with her toddler and nursing infant because the building had fallen on them, yet preserved them in dust somehow, in the middle of the night. I was pregnant with my second or third at the time, and I cried like a baby. But I researched it and realized that all I could do for them was pray and so I prayed, too.
I cried when Notre Dame burned. I cried when I thought the rose windows were destroyed. And I’m tired of people telling me that’s wrong. It’s my religion. In a way, it’s also my church – the way every Catholic church belongs to every Catholic. To tell me it doesn’t matter is awful. To mock my tears because it’s not your religion is just as awful.
When I thought the crown of thorns was lost, I cried harder. Then I learned that they were saved – along with all the relics, the hosts, and the artwork. Everything survived but the building. That’s when I stopped crying.
Of course, I still felt sad for myself – I’ll never see the church in its original glory, and I’ll never experience that beautiful spire. But everything of consequence was saved, and in the end, it’s just a building. And thank God no lives were lost – but I still cried, and I’m not ashamed of it, and neither should you be.
We can care about more than one thing in life. We have to, to survive this life.