The Notre Dame fire, or, upsetting things are upsetting

Posted on Apr 16, 2019

The burning of Notre Dame shook me to my core yesterday.

The images and videos made me so upset that I thought I was going crazy. After all, it is just a building, and presumably no one died, so what is the big deal? Still, the cathedral is a symbol of beauty and hope—literally of reaching to the sky to a higher power—and, to me at least, of human achievement, collective action, and indomitable spirit. To see it, a world monument, burning up (and potentially collapsing altogether, though thankfully that did not happen) deeply troubled me.

I have thought about it a little more now, and have realized something: When upsetting things occur, it makes sense to be upset, even if what is happening isn’t the most upsetting thing that could occur. Feeling so bad wasn’t really a bad thing for my me, and it wasn’t an outsized emotion to something that wasn’t really affecting me. I’m not crazy; I’m sensitive, and that’s OK.