As so much of the world is in quarantine, it is a good time to reflect on what we do with our time and opportunities. We love to travel to have the opportunity to experience new places, people, and things. We tend to avoid overly touristy things because we find the everyday lives of locals the most interesting flavors of any city. But we remember like it was yesterday the fire that gutted the Notre-Dame de Paris, not because we had memories of the place, but because we had never been inside.
We lived in England for six years before we moved to Prague. In that time we made it to Paris only once, for three days. One of those days, we walked over the Seine and saw Notre-Dame Cathedral two blocks away. We stopped and took some photos, naturally, and discussed whether to go over and take a look inside. Too expensive, we thought, and we probably needed tickets that we hadn’t bought in advance, and we had other things to do, and so we talked ourselves out of it. Next time, we decided; we’ll go inside next time; it will still be there.
The first person I talked with after the fire was my mom, who said it was so sad to see Notre-Dame Cathedral burn. She too had walked past and had not gone inside.
We have been inside St. Paul’s in London, St. Peter’s in Rome, the Dom in Cologne, Sacré-Cœur in Paris, and many other historical landmarks. They will rebuild Notre-Dame Cathedral, no doubt, but we will never get to go inside Notre-Dame Cathedral and see how it originally was. All we have are two photos.
The lesson? We never see inside doors we do not enter. Carpe diem. Not everything will still be there next time.