• Nathaniel G. Sands

The Notre Dame fire and matching tattoos

The Notre Dame fire has been a hot topic, especially the amount of money being donated to the church in response. It seems to beg one question: What do we value? Art, history and religion, or those in need of aid? How can one even begin to answer this question? Especially while being so busy!

This week, in continuing my blog series on love, and being continuously busier in life, I have been procrastination a post about my half-son, Emerson. I say that somewhat sarcastically; I don't really know how I would describe our relationship, but he is Leah's younger brother, Lucas' son.

I see Emerson often. In 2018 we lived together for a year. I picked him up from school about 3 days a week and we both really enjoyed our time together. He is very sociable, and just loves to spend time around others. Always willing to help and wanting to learn, he has been such a pleasure to take care of. I still pick him up every Wednesday, and last night over dinner he brought up our time together in our old place.

He also loves to help cook!

His bond with Bradley is a beautiful thing. They constantly play with each other, and have since Emerson has learned how to play. I have fond memories of watching the two grow up together and witnessing a love with no words blossom.

But living with a toddler is not all fun and games. Often I had to discipline Emerson, and he certainly is a boy who enjoys trouble. But then again, what boy doesn't?

As Emerson was learning how to speak, whenever being asked a "yes" or "no" question he would answer with, "Of course!" The exclamation point is necessary; he often speaks with great enthusiasm! Lucas and I didn't know why this became his standard answer, and it had always seemed somewhat rude. Given in society we are accustomed to a polite reply of, "yes, please," Lucas and I often corrected him. But e frequently found ourselves saying, "Of course," and adopted and embraced the saying, deciding it worthy of matching tattoo's.

I haven't really been emotionally affected by the burning of the Notre Dame Church. It's upsetting to know lots of culture was lost, and that many pieces of beauty, crafted by people like you and I (although, probably more talented) are gone forever. Someone told me that the day of the fire there was nearly 22,000 people who were there, and that it is a popular spot for pilgrims. A structure that has stood for roughly a thousands years, which took 200 years to build, (and how many of us could imagine starting a project our great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great-grand children would finish,) home to priceless artwork, and continuous spiritual journeys - And certainly for those in the catholic faith, who see this structure as an eternally inspiring place, with significant value to all of it's people now, then, and to come, were devastated by what transpired. And with our judgemental attitudes, people quickly went to social media to criticize the grieving process of the wealthy.

So the question, what do we value? Art, history and religion, or a human life? Are not the two uniquely tied? Life is certainly not life without these things. But are they just luxuries? Where are our priorities? Shouldn't our first care be toward those who are suffering? If my house was burning do I grab Emerson or my favorite painting?...

I think we need to re-word the question... What gives human life value? It seems everyone emphasises the money issue. A billion dollars can be raised when a significant structure is burned, yet millions around the world are struggling to be fed, educated and medicated. This is an important question to ask, and perhaps a shift in our mentality is necessary! The poor and the wealthy alike. But who are we to assume we understand economics, and how dollars translate into live-able resources?

At the end of the day, this criticism will end and a new one begin, and we will all set to our keyboards to fight for injustice on another topic. Side note: does anyone remember Kony 2012?

Perhaps the worlds problems are too big for us. Maybe the constant keyboard battles don't make a significant change in the world. That is my view. I think all it does is cause added stress to our lives, and divide real relationships. I think what we need to do is to focus on what we have right in front of us. The faces at home, the voices at work, the conversations with friends and interactions with strangers - instead of the portal that is our technological devices, which lead to an obscure world of fake cares and moral posturing.

Is our time not better spent with those we love, instead of assuming our personal perspectives onto others? Can I speak for the mass of humanity? Is it acceptable to act as though I am right and any other position is detestable and wrong?

Diversity shows we each place value in different emphases. So why do we speak (or type) with such resoluteness? Can any of us really put ourselves in the shoes of another? Do any of us have perfect understanding? Can any of us really speak for Truth?

There is something we can do that is certain to create positivity in our lives and in others... We can invest in those around us. All of us need each other in a real and personal way. Let us be guided by love to care for each-other, and leave those who are blinded by money and power to dispute economics, as if money will be what saves us.

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