Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Beacon of hope, part deux

So it's been three years since the first in a chain of earthquakes to hit the Canterbury region. Though most Cantabrians probably feel almost fond of the September 4th 2010 7.1 when compared with the son of a bitch that hit us the following February.

I know that many people wonder why we are still "going on about that" because for them it happened "ages ago". For us it happened yesterday, and many of us are not really convinced that it has stopped happening yet.

But there are some positive things that came out of Canterbury's disaster. A feeling of camaraderie that hadn't been felt around here anywhere other than rugby fields and sports bars in a long time. A shared, albeit horrible, event that pulled us together. And in the face of adversity we found a new hope. 

Oh there has been a lot of arguing, primarily related to the tearing down of things we care about and the raising of new buildings. But we all have the same strand to hold on to. Getting back to normal. Maybe even getting past normal to BETTER. Rebuilding a city from the ground up is an amazing opportunity, a chance to make it more than it was. There is a vibrancy around the rebuild that is exciting. There is a pride in some of the amazing innovations going on here. And there is love in the gaps. 

Projects like GapFiller, that moved to use those endless empty sections for something cheering while we waited for building permits, investors and insurance payouts. Bike powered cinema! What a wonderful idea :) A mini-golf course randomly distributed over empty sections all around the suburbs (I never did find them all). Random markets. Free book exchanges. Children's art displays. And everywhere signs that we all CARE what is happening here. 

But to those people who wonder why we're still "going on about it"... Recovery is a long process. Christchurch is on it's way, and in some ways people are feeling more positive. But we are also just now entering one of the hardest phases on the road to recovery. Year three. Stress of three years of waiting for things to fix, three years of arguing with insurers, EQC, builders, lawyers... Three years of waiting for the other boot to drop. Three years of public transport being a bit naf. Three years of broken roads, broken sewerage. Uncertainty and fear. 

Can you imagine what it's like for children to grow up in a house where the stress has been unending for THREE YEARS? Children who don't understand the forces involved in throwing the earth around like that. Children that don't understand why their house is still broken. Adults aren't coping, how are kids supposed to?

But it isn't all gloom and despair. There is hope too, a lot of hope. Hope that things are getting better, hope that this is a turning point that there is more positive than negative in our future. It's a hard road, but a road that we are travelling together, and it's much better for the company. Misery may love company, but so does hope. 

It's important for us to remember at this critical juncture in recovery that it is OKAY to not be feeling awesome about everything. We are ALLOWED to be feeling out of sorts, upset, angry, frustrated... we are allowed to feel whatever we are feeling. It's important to acknowledge that the journey is not over yet. Just as it is important to be able to look at the future with hope. If you're struggling it's not just ok to seek help, it's IMPORTANT to seek help. For you, for the rest of your family, for everyone that you care about and for everyone that cares about you. It's important that you take care of you. 

It's spring, the weather is getting better (despite today's effort at freezing). Get outside and do something frivolous. Remember that putting all the frustration out of your mind for a day isn't going to make it leap up and bite you. And you need to relax. The human mind is not made to work at a high stress for long periods of time, we need to stop and smell the roses from time to time. Getting out and doing something doesn't have to be a big deal. You don't have to book a cruise; do something simple, do what works for you. If what works for you doesn't involve going out, fine. It's what works for you that matters here. 

Frankie say RELAX.

Peace. Out.   

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