Notre Dame, et al.

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Yesterday was a good day. Before I go on, I know that I have been posting almost every day and I worry that I am overloading people. Firstly, I’m not offended if you don’t check in all the time… really. Secondly, I won’t be doing this so often as my trip progresses. It’s just that I have a bit of downtime here and access to a good internet connection. Anyway, enough of the apologies.

So, to business. There are some photos worth spending some time taking a closer look at in this. Particularly you will see a photo of four figures, take a closer look at the one second from the right. This is St Denis, he was Bishop of Paris in the 3rd century and was executed by the local pagan leaders because he was scoring too much in the conversion game. Not so interesting so far, where it does get good is that……after his head was cut off, he is said to have picked it up, washed it in the fountain (hygiene is important), and walked 10Km’s or so preaching the whole way. This is a pretty good trick I think. It turns out that there is a whole history of “Cephalaphores”, or head carriers in the Catholic tradition. I can juggle and do coin tricks.

Another photo you’ll see is of Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc). I have never been much of one for crushes on girls (or boys….just for the record), even as a teenage lad. But this woman has always held a special place for me. When I was not yet married in my thirties and people asked why, I would tell them that I was saving myself for Joan of Arc. I mean seriously!! She is totally sold out to God, she is a bit of a nutter, she will put everything on the line and hang the consequences for what she believes, she has fire and spirit, she seems a bit out of balance, she never gives up, she hangs out with God, believes what she hears and sets out in action. For such a woman I would…..well for such a woman what kind of man would I have to be? Of course she died when she was nineteen (burned at the stake), so she’d be a bit young for me now.

For the other photos you’ll just have to send me a message if you want details.

I sat in the Cathedral of Notre Dame for a couple of hours, again alone with my thoughts and the occasional prayer. This time a lot easier on the soul. Afterward I attended Mass in a smaller church I stumbled upon later in the day. When I say smaller, you could still play a spirited game of soccer in there…and have stadiums on the sides…and ample car parking. Again, it was special to be doing church with people who are looking to Jesus for hope.

I attend a Protestant church in real life, and there seems this underlying, gentle animosity between us and them. But you know what? I have never built a cathedral to glorify God. I’ve helped build a couple of third world schools and a primary healthcare facility, but frankly they look a bit crappy by comparison. The use of art, architecture, sculpture, music to draw glory to God has real merit I think (maybe because I’m a creative myself). I know that the money could have been used for other purposes (feed the poor is the one I always use), but perhaps spending it on genuinely glorifying God is a good thing. Again, embryonic thoughts.

So, to my pet subject for the now. Let me tell you about some people that have inspired it. My dad. My dad was a bit of a broken unit, died in his fifties and I would suggest that he drank / smoked /angered /depressed himself to death. His life in my opinion was not a life well lived. By the time he died was a lonely divorced man with no real relationship with his sons or ex wife. Didn’t love well, didn’t experience life or find what he was good at and pursue it with his all. Didn’t seem to pursue anything that was outside of his own carnal needs. Maybe I didn’t know him that well, but that was my experience of him. One night he went to bed, and woke up dead. I don’t want that.

By comparison, I have loved friends who have died young, but who in their time here loved well, pursued their passions and left a legacy of love. We all seem to get only one shot at this life, even if we get more than one shot, we don’t seem to remember the previous one(s). Where we go after we die is of course important to me, but as a friend of mine once said “being a Christian so that you can go to heaven is kinda like marrying someone so that you can live in their house”. I am interested in taking this gift of life and being the best David I can be.

And on that note, my love and hugs to you all.


4 Responses to Notre Dame, et al.

  1. Eileen Unger says:

    Just for the record, David, daily updates from you aren’t too much. I love to hear what you’re thinking!

  2. timeaside says:

    Thanks Eileen, you are always very kind to me. Your husband on the other hand is keeping me very honest. Hugs.

  3. Michael Yap says:

    Don’t stop. We are trully interested and will journey with you in spirit even though we are not there physically with you.

    Don’t just describe the physical surrounding but also how each place stimulate you spiritually. Does each place have a different spiritual feeling???

    • timeaside says:

      Michael, you are too kind to me. To be honest about each place having a different spiritual feel, the answer is yes, but my radar is insufficiently sensitive right now to know exactly what I’m feeling. For example, there is something eerie about standing where so many executions took place.

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