I believe that like many others around the world, my heart ached and I felt gutted as I watched the coverage of the Cathedral of Notre Dame on fire. While it was a totally different tragedy, caused by human error (at least that’s how it appears at this moment), rather than the horrific intentional acts of terrorists. I cannot remember that sort of gut punch feeling since the World Trade Centers came down.
As I said, they are not comparable in most ways. Approximately 3000 lives were lost on 9/11. Thankfully no lives were lost in the fire.
All that aside, the process of watching such an incredible structure burn and watching the grief and sadness on the faces of the onlookers made me wonder. Could this be a defining moment for our world?
In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, everything stopped. For a minute, the world was united in grief. Shocked at what had happened. But committed to show support to do what could be done. Unity! People of differing viewpoints set them aside and were united.
It was quite a powerful, beautiful and (sadly) rare thing to witness.
There is much in our world that is deeply troubling. The polarization even within families is heartbreaking. The ability to respectfully discuss, to agree to disagree, without burning the other down, seems to be on the decline. Even, or perhaps most notably within the halls of governments around the globe.
What if as we catch our breath after watching so much history on fire, we paused for a moment to give thanks that despite all that was lost, there is much to be thankful for. That it was not a total loss, that no one was killed, that it was not a terrorist act… and the list goes on.
What if we looked around and saw that almost universally, regardless of nationality, of religion, of color, or any of the other arbitrary factors that are used to divide and diminish, the people of the world were saddened yesterday. UNIFIED in their sadness, if only for a moment.
It makes me wonder what would happen if one-by-one we chose to not pick up the disagreeable demeanor, the seeming need to find outrage, the polarization that plagues so many aspects of our current world, and instead, chose to feed the unity that we feel in moments of horrific loss.
I wonder what we could create if we focused on the things that are good and decent. If we demanded collaboration. If we remembered that we have the right to hold ourselves to whatever standard we want, but do not have the right to install our standard on the world at large. EVEN if we hold it as incontrovertible truth.
If I’m being honest, and I certainly try to be. I am to the bone weary of the discord, the anger, the insanity that seems to be spreading.
While I certainly know that it is not my job to change any other person (except those who come to me and pay me to help them in my business 🙂 ) I MUST do what I can to remove myself from the marinade of anger, of discord, of harsh judgement. Perhaps, if I start there, it can have a broader impact.
Where are you? Can you start there, or someplace near there?