So much to see, and so little time

Published 4:26 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2019

was busy and away from the house and television Monday, but listening to the news in my car as I drove. I heard the reports of the burning of the world renowned Notre Dame cathedral and was hoping that it would not be lost completely.

I heard that 13 million people visited Notre Dame annually and it is the most popular of tourist sites in a city that has so very many. There are many who are satisfied with not venturing to worldwide places, but I’m not one of them.

I’m a son of the South, a blessed Georgia farm boy, but my desire to see some of those ancient architectural wonders that I viewed in my family’s Encyclopedia Britannica still lives. I have heard that Paris can be a “stuck-up” city and not so welcoming to Americans, but it has too many iconic tourist sites for me to write it off.

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In our beautiful nation, we have plenty to see. A selection of our iconic architecture will include The Empire State Building, the White House and other Washington governmental buildings and monuments, the Golden Gate and Brooklyn Bridges, the Statue of Liberty, and many others.

Plus, the United States of America is filled with a natural beauty that exceeds much of the world. The Grand Canyon of Arizona, the Redwood Forests of California, our vast plains of the Midwest, and Niagara Falls are some of the world’s greatest sites.

At the same time, we may have nothing that compares with the cathedrals and castles of Europe. There are two reasons at least. First, there is the age of those sites. Our nation is relatively young when compared to the rest of the world.

If we date our founding by the Christopher Columbus landing of 1492, Notre Dame of Paris was already hundreds of years old. The Pyramids of Egypt were thousands of years old.

I visited England and Scotland in the mid-1990s. One of the most memorable sites was a little stone church. It was very simple and not a big deal was made of it, but it had been built in the 600s. I entered and sat on a pew that was just a log supported by two stones at each end.

When Donna Sue and I went to Israel in 2000, we visited places that, we were told, dated all the way back to Abraham! Also, we prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane among olive trees that, we were told, were there when Jesus prayed.

In Bethlehem, we visited The Church of the Nativity that was built in the 4th century, that’s around 333. Underneath the floor of the church, there was a cave and we went down into the cave to a spot where, supposedly, our Lord Jesus was born. I believe it to be true by the Spirit of God. I admit, I want it to be true.

Not only was Notre Dame old; it was begun in the 12th century (in 1160 and finished over the next two centuries,) it was so magnificently imposing in its size. It is truly one of those instances where “you have to see it to believe it.” I’m glad it was saved so I can see it one day, I pray.

I’ve seen only one of these ancient cathedrals. In York, England, there is a cathedral known as York Minster and is the largest in Northern Europe. It was begun in the 1200s and, as with all of these Middle Ages wonders, took centuries to complete.

There is a saying. So much to see and so little time. I’m satisfied where I am, but I hope I am always looking for more.