This morning as I sat on an American Airlines flight from Philadelphia to San Francisco, I found myself pondering on many of the world events we have been faced with of late. Watching the Catedral de Notre Dame burn was heart wrenching. Centuries of irreplaceable art and artifacts that tell the story of this city of Paris, and Notre Dame has always been central to that story. I cried out as I saw the spire collapse, cutting a hole through the roof and cascading burning debris all over the floor of the Cathedral. I watched as afternoon turned to evening, and finally the darkness of night. As my husband watched he asked me if I had been there. I told him I had, and then he said in a somber voice “well now I never will.”
In that moment I was devastated for him and for the millions of others who will never see Our Lady as she once was. As the hours passed and a new day dawned on the city of Paris, we all got our first glimpses inside, and I was shocked and deeply moved by what I saw. So much of the interior was unharmed that it beggared belief! The wooden pews, pulpit, and more all looked back at me across the tv screen. To say the least, I was overjoyed that there hadn’t been a total loss and that rebuilding efforts will be able to integrate so much of the original into their work. So even though it will certainly be awhile until I can take my husband back to Notre Dame, I do know that I will be able to.
The same, unfortunately can not be said for many other masterpieces throughout the globe. The spectacular ancient city of Palmyra was not too long ago a massively popular tourist destination that saw upwards of 100,000 visitors a year from many international destinations. Yet the systematic destruction of ancient sites by the so-called Islamic State has reduced this ancient site to no more than rubble and dust. This is a place that now neither I, nor my husband, or anyone ese for that matter, will ever see.
At the dawn of the last century our forefathers we able to see and experience many places which are now, for one reason or another, off limits to American tourists. Who knows what destination we visit today that may be more difficult, if not impossible to visit, in the future.
So what has been my point with all this, which, I admit, has been a bit of a downer?
You should go. Now. To wherever it is that you have been dreaming of seeing and do the things that you have been dreaming of doing. There really is not time like the present.