Tracy and I planned to climb the tower at Notre Dame for a Gargoyle’s-eye view of Paris last week. After we got ourselves up and around and fortified with strong coffee, we wandered over that way. We noticed the palms and it struck me — it was Palm Sunday. And we had arrived at Notre Dame right in the middle of a service.
Despite the throngs of people jostling for position, it was beautiful. The singers’ voices in the soaring cathedral left tears in my eyes and a finger itchy to call home and share the music. But it was 6 in the morning at home and I didn’t know anyone who would appreciate being awoken for a church service, no matter how lovely.
This photo of a man, head bent in devotion, really captures the experience for me. To be present at such a significant worship service in this historic cathedral was really moving. And the fact that I’m not Catholic made it that much more interesting, as I think about the improbability of Catholics and Protestants together a few centuries ago.
I couldn’t have planned this moment if I’d tried — it was just one of the beautiful surprises of travel. And I kept the music to myself — no audio postcard for my sleeping loved ones at home.