Never once when I was growing up, not even when I was a young adult, did I ever think about, or dare to imagine that I would come to Paris one day.
A day trip to Atlanta, only eighty miles up the road, seemed exotic to me then. We never made trips to Atlanta to go shopping the way some of my classmates did.
I’d never heard of places called Portland or Seattle or Jardin du Luxembourg.
Although I was a reader, even way back then. I didn’t think about writing, or art, or the artists and writers who did the work of creating.
Poverty, I’ve since learned, comes in several manifestations.
The worst sort of poverty is widely regarded as the one that leaves a person starving to death in a world full of abundance.
Having never gone hungry a day in my life, I can only imagine the sheer despair caused by such hunger.
But I have known the despair of a child whose ability to imagine is interrupted by the death of a parent.
Ask any grieving adult, reading becomes nearly impossible during times of despair. Too hard to concentrate, to think clearly, to imagine a different world.
Sitting inside the sanctuary of Notre Dame, Tim and I spoke quietly about the different sorts of poverty that people experience, due to tragedy and due to abundance. It’s easy, Tim said, to assign a certain level of holiness to those who have gone before us, to those who imagined up places like the great cathedrals.
People from all nations will stand in long lines and pay good money to witness creativity, and yet, pay little regard to the Creator behind all that beauty.
I wonder, does God ever despair over us?