happy earthquakeiversary...

23 February 2014

three years ago today, an earthquake destroyed my city. 

my bus stop used to be beside a big old brick building... 

no one i knew personally was among the dead. my house was damaged, but not beyond repair. grief was unfazed by these facts, and came into my life to sit beside me for what turned out to be about two years. grief doesn't rate loss by size or monetary value or any logic whatsoever, for that matter. a reality became etched in my heart: grief is relative to the value we had placed on that which was lost. grief is the price we pay for love.

this is helplessness: digging trenches at this elderly woman's home,  only to realize that no amount of digging would block the water from a nearby main break from flooding her home. we resigned to moving all of her furniture to the highest corner of her house, and walking away. 

now, practically half a world away from anyone who has even experienced an earthquake, i'm looking back on three years that took a drastic detour from the road i thought i was walking. far from a trite 'everything happens for a reason' conclusion (anyone who knows grief knows that loss rarely shows its reason), i took some time recently to reflect on the journey. there may not have been reasons, but there was refinement.


i learned that life is unpredictable and that there is a camaraderie and closeness that comes through shared loss. i learned that grief is relative to the value placed on what was lost. 

the earthquake taught me that seasons end, sometimes abruptly and before they seem to have naturally come to a close. 

i learned that life is for living, in the moment, with gratitude and an abandoned heart. 

i love this picture, because it reminds me that even in the middle of the worst, i was surrounded by people who made me smile... 

returning to christchurch and all its pockets of nostalgia and emotion, it became clear that i still have so many unanswered questions, and perhaps i always will. but i also saw that the city i loved is blossoming in a new season of growth and hope for the future. 

curiously,  so am i.

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