You can look down and see mud or you can look up and see stars.
Out of all this mess and destruction, the thing I’m seeing so clearly is what shines out of people.
It’s as if this shared catastrophe has knocked all the facades off not just buildings, but the folk around us. You soon see the ones who are strong and supportive, and the ones who need constant propping up.
In ordinary times, it’s not that hard to carry a few people in your life who live in a perpetual fog of their own self-created turmoil. It’s just not possible to do that and try to forge ahead when it’s hard enough to cope on your own day after day after day.
How hard it must be for those families whose lives are always like that? Who don’t have the blessing of the upbringing I had, with parents raised on the heels of the great depression, whose circumstances spanned world wars?
Dad always taught me to count both the cost of things and the value of things. Mum always taught me that you never throw anything out, and you never buy anything unless you need it. Dad’s rule of thumb is you have one thing on tick at a time (that doesn’t include your mortgage and it’s for your credit rating). Mum’s rule of thumb is make sure you spend some money on having a bit of fun.
And they taught me to garden. To bake. To knit, and to sew. I grumbled and turned my nose up at the time, but the thing is – when you know you can do it, you don’t fear having to do it.
The thing that always puzzled people arriving in Christchurch in recent years was how hard it was to break into it. I’m seeing now those connections being shared in ways they haven’t been before. “Do you know…can we share…shall we co-locate…what can you offer us…what can we offer you”. We’ve got co-ed schools using their facilities in the morning, single sex schools rolling in over the lunch break. (And I’ll bet those lunch breaks are well enjoyed!)
Out of chaos comes not just despair. It can also bring creativity and joy. You have to look for the opportunities, grab them swiftly, and run with them. Christchurch is joining a whole new set of dots. While our roads and pipes may not be intact at the moment, our communities are become increasingly connected.