When I was kid, I used to see dogs in the park rushing to capture a frisbee in their mouths. It was thrilling to watch them rush with glee and sometimes even leap into the air to catch it. Then they’d excitedly return, practically smiling, as though they’d accomplished something that’s never before been done. Each new time, was like the first time and just as incredible as the last. While this level of resilience seems easy for our furry friends, humans sometimes have trouble seeing the world this simply. In my little mind, as a kid, it just felt like all dogs have hope. Catching that frisbee wasn’t an act of physical prowess, but a leap of faith. A faith that was unshakable. This meant that, most every time, that little dog in the park would be successful in catching that frisbee. At the time, I remember thinking how on earth could that be possible? It was incredible to think about really. That anything might be just within reach if we only had the hopeful stamina to believe in the possibility that it might actually happen. I grew up believing that anything in life is possible. And as much as I love to look backward, I’m really looking forward most of the time. Looking for that next shiny bit of hope on the horizon that guides me on to the next step in this crazy journey of life.

Notre DameToday, Philippe texted me that “Notre Dame was burning down!” and I thought it must be code for something else. I quickly got online and discovered that it was actually true and watched live as the building was engulfed in flames and the spire toppled to its side. I’ve walked by Notre Dame nearly every year for the past seven years, so I was a bit numb in that moment. What was happening? Something so historic and iconic was burning before my very eyes. I realized that in all of my visits, I’d only made a quick brush pen sketch early on when I first started sketching. After my moment of shock, I reminded myself that nothing lasts forever, but nothing adored ever goes away. Notre Dame was damaged and neglected during the French Revolution, and later, in 1831, a writer named Victor Hugo would publish a book entitled Notre-Dame de Paris which was changed in English to The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The book spurred the first large-scale renovation of the structure, and it was currently in the midst of another when the fire broke out.

Philippe and I were both speechless at first this evening, but then we considered all of the history that came before this. It’s a rich history of resilience and we both took heart that no matter what happened, history would indeed repeat itself. It always does. And, in this case, that’s very good news. Notre Dame will return, perhaps this time, more resilient than ever. It’s a pattern that takes a bit more time for humans, but it always occurs. We always go back to claim our prize. We forget about any setback and come back stronger than before it ever happened. We’ve always done this, and we’ll do it again in the usual fashion. So, no matter what occurs, people will rally to make something new and wonderful happen. After all, it’s what we’ve always done. My heart goes out to my Parisian friends and family, but it’s a heart full of new beginnings. I still have to believe that anything is possible, when we take that step back so we can rush forward to catch a bit of hope.

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Dachshund Dog With Frisbee Illustration Watercolor

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35 thoughts on “To Catch A Bit Of Hope

  1. I have to admit I cried a little when I heard about Notre Dame. It seems as though we’re losing so much of history so fast. But you’re right. Something will be rebuilt on that site, and it will combine old with new. Not always a bad thing.

  2. Reading your blogs almost daily, by now, one would have ceased to be amazed at your articulation, but this article today has really left  me with this wonderful hum.
    I love how you’ve stringed together the little dog, it’s leap of faith, the iconic Notre Dame in flames, our sadness, resilience .. and also the glimmer of hope ..
    Thank you, Charlie!

  3. Excellent essay! You cheered me up about Notre Dame. I was sad since I saw the first notice about the fire. It seemed such a huge loss to France, and to the world. But you are right. We need to hold on to a bit of hope that there is another life for Notre Dame, and though it may be different, it too will be magnificent!

  4. Thank you for your words of hope. When I first heard the news I was stunned; when I saw the video I cried. This morning I heard that some of the artifacts were saved and the building still stands and I cried with relief. I was there very briefly a few years ago and was in awe of that beautiful building. My heart goes out to the people of France; it must have been a horrible day for them.

    1. Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 Yeah, we were watching very closely and thrilled that the towers, bell, and artifacts made it through safely. And they’ll be a new beginning that’s equally amazing coming next. The French people are just like that. 😉

  5. Such a cute dog painting. His little smile is priceless. My heart goes out to all of France as well as to you, Phillippe and all those that have a connection to Notre Dame. Your story is heartwrenching Charlie, but at the same time, so positive. I feel certain Notre Dame will recover and be stronger as well.

  6. I thought of you boys yesterday when I heard the news. 🙁 I love your positive outlook. It is so true that we come back stronger in some way. (My mother died when I was 9 and I always felt I grew up a stronger gal because of it, rather than going to the pity pot.) I have to ask you, have you ever done narratives for Public TV? I swear the guy doing the narrative on a Jewish documentary we were watching last night, was you. I believe it was a few years old because I recalled parts of it.

    1. Thanks, Lori! 😃💕 Yeah it was a shocking day to be sure, but I have nothing but hope that all will be restored. As for the documentary… hehe… that wasn’t me, but I would adore doing narratives for Public TV. That seems right up my alley!

  7. Charlie said, “My heart goes out to my Parisian friends and family, but it’s a heart full of new beginnings. I still have to believe that anything is possible, when we take that step back so we can rush forward to catch a bit of hope.”

    There is beauty in that wisdom that lifts the reader. I was shocked and heartbroken when I saw the spire topple. I live by faith, but honestly, I was still devastated. Your wise words takes the sting away and reminds me there is always a way.

    1. Thanks, Sarah! 😃💕 So happy to know this post added some hope back into what was a tragic event. But I’m totally confident that everything will be restored. It’s good sometimes that we come together to make a new history for future generations to enjoy.

  8. When I read the email that Notre Dame was on fire, I figured it was a metaphor for some political rally. I’m so saddened by this terrible tragedy but I know that France will rebuild the cathedral and that people around the world will offer funds to help. My sincere condolences to Philippe and to all those who are French or French at heart.

    1. Thanks, Sharon 😃💕 Yeah, it was all a bit of a crazy shock. I couldn’t believe it at first either. But, yes, everything will be restored, the important things miraculously spared, and they’ll be a new history for Notre Dame.

  9. Love the pup and his cool frisbee. I had tears in my eyes after watching the footage of Notre Dame. Thanks for reminding me of the tenacity is the human spirit – I’m sure the Cathedral will be rebuilt better than ever!

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