The road ends, but the journey continues...

Andy's Insights from a Parisian

Reprinted here from Andy’s blog:

After Speaking With A Parisian

andys notre dame spire

Surviving Revolutions and World Wars, Notre Dame’s spire has long been a familiar sight to generations of Parisians, puncturing the capital’s skyline for over 800 years.

Back in the 1500s, the culture that we had built in the West embraced multigenerational projects quite easily. Notre Dame. Massive cathedrals were not built over the course of a few years, they were built over a few generations. People who started building them knew they wouldn’t be finished until their grandson was born.

-Jamais Cascio

Maybe it’s hubris, but we expect our creative monuments, our works of art, to last forever. Fixed points in man’s timeline.
Last night I spoke with a Frenchman, a Parisian, who was in mourning, speaking of a devastating cultural loss. I began to think of iconic buildings whose loss would affect we British people similarly. And then, as a Mancunian, a particular building in my own city, regularly seen but perhaps taken for granted by me.
I struggled to make a connecting comparison.
Then, the morning after that conversation, I woke to a photograph and an idea that, within all of last night’s images of destruction and despairing, I had lost touch with: there’s always hope.andys cross image

 For You are my hope, O Lord God; You are my trust from my youth.
Psalm 71:5


  1. Lesley Kluchin

    This was so very poignant to read. I recently spent hours discussing the subject of your blog with my French cousin.
    A quick backstory… While doing my ancestry DNA several months back, I discovered I had one surviving French relative. The rest of my Dad’s French relatives were sent to Auschwitz when the Nazis took over Paris during WWII. (My grandfather moved to America from France early in the 20th century but all his brothers and sisters remained). A first cousin of my father’s hid from the Nazis and survived the war, and her daughter found me. We have been writing and face timing ever since. Our resemblance is startling.
    Anyway, she thanked me for immediately texting her when I watched with horror as the towers fell. She then face timed me and was sobbing. She stated that it was so more than a place of worship. It wAs French History. A part of France itself. She felt like a member of her family had died. She lives in the heart of Paris and from her window she could see the tower burning and watched the magical structure fall. She was in despair. What she couldn’t understand was why her other American cousins she had recently reconnected with didn’t call or write when it happened. My sister and I were the only ones who immediately contacted her. I explained that America is such a new country that most people here aren’t aware of how Everything in France has such history and such meaning. Unfortunately, many Americans are rather oblivious to history. She stated that this was the soul of Paris. She was heartbroken. Literally heartbroken.
    It makes me wonder if most Americans are just too self absorbed or too unaware to appreciate such a monumental display of architecture and history. As a retired teacher I’m disappointed in the lack of cultural empathy being displayed by so many young people in this country.

    • laura bruno lilly

      What a story of family discovery…I’m so happy for your new connections.
      Please convey my personal condolences to your French cousin for the loss of such a treasure that is Notre Dame.

  2. Andrea Stephenson

    It does seem devastating when something so iconic and old is lost, but as you say, there is always hope and nothing is permanent.

    • laura bruno lilly

      There is a saying written on one of the South Carolina liscence plates here which states: ‘While I Breathe I Hope’. Kinda fits.

  3. Marty

    Thanks for sharing that post, Laura. So many people have been comparing this fire to the many church fires in Louisiana too. Tragic, all of them.

    • laura bruno lilly

      You’re welcome, Marty.

  4. Roseanne

    Good Morning Laura! Yes indeed, we always do have hope and He is our hope. ~smile~ Roseanne

    • laura bruno lilly

      Blessings to you, Roseanne during this season of hope.

  5. Ally Bean

    I’m sure I learned in history class about how long it took to build Notre Dame Cathedral, but I’d forgotten that reality. Ours is an impatient world, isn’t it? I like the Bible quote you choose to go with this information. Perfectly fitting, under the sad circumstances.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Ours is indeed an impatient world. To think it took generations of artisans/builders to construct the Cathedral in the first place – so ‘not’ 21st century thinking.

  6. Mariss Stevens

    Yes, a devastating blow. All is vanity — even for centuries old edifices. Brings to mind Shelley’s poem Ozymandias

    • laura bruno lilly

      It is a not-so-subtle reminder that nothing really is permanent…makes me wonder all the more about the ancient ‘monuments’ we’ve never had a chance to see.
      Great literary reference, very apropos.

  7. Jill

    Beautiful, Laura. Thanks for sharing. Such a sad day for Christians all over the world…but they will rebuild.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks, Jill. Hope your Easter is filled with hummers, family, choco bunnies and His Love.

  8. Anne Copeland

    I was saddened to see this happening too, something I could never have dreamed would happen ever to this great monument. It has been in the history and the stories and it is so well-known by so many people all over the world. I cried sincerely last night for it was so upsetting. But I do know that something so incredible as this building will be restored as best as anyone can do. I read or saw somewhere (and I apologize for not remembering where) that people are already starting to find ways to get it restored. Thank you for the sad, but hopeful message.

    • laura bruno lilly

      You are welcome, Anne.
      It seems this monument has been in a state of gross neglect and in need of repairs for years but lacked funding to do so. I guess the good news is that because they were beginning with some restorations, many of the art pieces were removed for safe keeping and thus were ultimately saved from the destructive fire.

  9. L. Marie

    So glad you reblogged that, Laura. What a sad day. But how hopeful at the end. Have a great Easter.

    • laura bruno lilly

      The scripture was my selection, but seemed to go with Andy’s text.

      • Andy

        It fits perfectly. In my previous post I’d strayed from hope and trust. Hope is normally my default setting, eternal optimist that I am. Normally.

        • laura bruno lilly

          Naw, it was your raw passion that found its voice…not a bad thing.

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