Watching the images of Notre Dame in flames yesterday gave me flashbacks to 9-11, especially when the tall spire came tumbling down. It also brought me back to Miami after Hurricane Andrew. I distinctly remember getting lost trying to find my way home because every familiar landmark had toppled over or was missing. It will take some time for Parisians to internalize the unsettling reality left in the wake of the fire.
Health, relational and job crises can have the same effect on us personally. The life-landscape we once knew so well suddenly looks foreign and feels disorienting. Important things we took for granted are missing -maybe forever; a sense of extreme vulnerability can take hold.
The good news is that Miami was rebuilt, there’s a beautiful tower in NYC and a new spire will one day rise over a renovated Notre Dame. Human resiliency, adaptability, hopefulness and the capacity to create something new out of what is broken are spiritual gifts we can all tap into. Rebuilding may take some time, but if we incorporate all of the lessons learned, and accept what cannot be changed, we can construct an even better version of what it was we had before.