I have always had a problem with self confidence. My self image is quite dim at times. Self doubt is constantly eroding me. In Paris, there were several things that I wanted to see. Maybe it’s not what most people call interesting, but I’ve always wanted to see the flying buttresses of Notre Dame. The towering vaulted ceilings of this chapel have been a wonder since they were built almost a thousand years ago. No dome since the Pantheon approached this architectural splendor. After years of waiting, I stood in the square in front of the church with my father. I told him about my desire to see the Buttresses in back. “No son, Notre Dame doesn’t have buttresses, that didn’t come about until much later in the middle ages.” I stayed quiet while we entered the church. A model of the building stands in an alcove, buttresses and all. “Look dad, I guess Notre Dame does have flying buttresses.” He studied the model, then walked away without saying anything. Outside, we ate lunch at a cafe across the street. He asked me to point out the buttresses. He wanted more proof than my word. Visual proof only bought me respite from his disbelief.
That night at dinner, I was feeling depressed, so I was very quiet. dad said that he was disappointed that I wasn’t more entertaining. Those were his words. I said that I was sorry that my depression was disappointing to him “Yes it is, son.” I don’t see how I’ll forget that exchange.