Notre Dame One Year Later: What Really Matters

Notre Dame Cathedral
By 93XRT

It was a year ago that Notre Dame was on fire. In the aftermath a listener asked me this question for Lin's Bin

With all the things a person can do in a lifetime, what really matters?

What really matters?

Your mom and dad. You will take them for granted. You will forget to call them. You will argue and make up. The good memories will gather in your mind like diamonds. And when your turn comes and you bring a new soul into this world, you will be seized with the need to know how they are and where they are and a message or a visit from a daughter or a son will redeem every hour in the day.


What really matters?

Your kids.

From those mystical first moments when mute wonder at new life precedes that self-doubt that fills those first hours. Am I prepared to bring this bundle of helplessness home? Will we solve the mysteries of sniffles and fevers? Can we keep our hearts from bursting at first smiles, first words, the first time he runs to the door for no better reason than because you’re home. And as you witness their triumphs and failures, you know all too well that they will grow up and forget to call you. And when people ask about what you hope, the world shrinks to the simplest truth. I want them to be happy.

What really matters? Other people’s kids. Because innocence should not be abridged for politics or prejudice. Because human kindness should start with those least likely to help themselves. Because there are no horrors greater than a sick child. 

Your passions. Pursue the things that make your heart dance. Muskie fishing? Cast a hawgwobbler. Baseball? Break in that glove. Quilting? See the patterns in your mind.

Don’t let the judgement of the uninitiated persuade you. Even when your passion is for someone you met when the world was different and you were sure of nothing else.

What really matters?

The human imagination and the beauty it engenders.

The wordsmiths who wrote

“The world is charged with the grandeur of God.

It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;

It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil


A statue by Michelangelo.

A nude by Modigliani.

Pictures that by daubs of paint reveal a deeper world than what we thought we could see with our own eyes.

What really matters?

The fragile beauty of the unspoiled earth. Bird songs and hawks in flight.

Snowfall and the first flowers in the spring damp garden

The view of valleys from the tops of hills.

The river-carved canyon and the unyielding surf

What really matters?

Songs. Even the sad ones.

What really matters?

That a fire that burned its memory into a Paris night brought people into the streets to kneel and to sing.

They are singing to a cathedral. An edifice that teaches us how architecture transcends the draftsman. The rose of stained glass. The spire that gave direction to the heavens. A monument to the divine, to the artist, to the impossible grace of being human.

What really matters?

All of it.