I spent a lot of time thinking about Notre Dame when I couldn't sleep last night. Why I couldn't sleep I don't know, as I'd been up to almost 3:00 am the night before (and I'm an early to bed girl) waiting for Owen and Ernie to get home from the Aaron Lee Tasjan show, but after a couple of hours of sweet sleep, I lay awake for several more hours, and this is what kept wandering through my mind.
I read a few comments, some more thoughtful than others, about why there was such collective mourning and grief over a 'thing' such as Notre Dame when there are so many actual humans that are in danger and under threat. I must admit the same thing crossed my mind when I experienced that sudden rush of astonishment and horror when Ernie came home and told me the news. Why don't I get this same feeling of horror when I hear about humanitarian issues. Not that I'm not horrified, to differing degrees, by these issues, but there was a difference in my response.
I think the destruction (although thankfully not total) of a Notre Dame, a thing, is easy to grasp. Now, certainly, there may be more complicated cultural issues that are more difficult to contemplate, but the actual threat and danger and loss are clear. The dangers and threats to humans can be more complicated, clouded by so many different political and cultural norms. I remember when my sister was diagnosed with bile duct cancer, one person responded to me immediately with, "Oh well, did she eat meat?" Now I don't discount dietary dangers, etc. regarding the development of cancerous cells, but it was an amazingly callous and thoughtless response. I remember precisely where I was standing in my front yard when he said that. It was someone who was callous and thoughtless in other ways, and nobody I know now. I still recall my resultant rage at that comment though. I worked my way through it and realized that it was a simple human response of, "that's bad for you, and I'm sorry, but that could NEVER happen to me." And that I think is the difference in our response, the horror of Notre Dame burning can't happen to us, so it's easy to clearly feel the grief, and common grief, such as this one that was felt across the world, can be comforting in the way it brings people together. So I think it is two different responses, and it's ok to be horrified and united in your grief about this landmark; it in no way means you don't care about dangers and issues regarding humans just as much, and more.
And that's what I thought about when I couldn't sleep.
Onward. More about the Aaron Lee show later.