I had an epiphany today while I was driving about doing 101 things
that must be done before Christmas.
I was thinking how its the fourth Christmas since the
earthquakes began and how most of the time
it seems pretty normal now.
The first Christmas it was like you walked in the footsteps of the Christmas before,
you knew what you were doing and when you did it,
and you knew how it felt when the earthquake struck.
Every day of the Christmas season it was like living it again.
The second Christmas, you remembered,
but it wasn't the only thing you were thinking.
Life was beginning to carry on.
And now the memories are like a well worn path,
it's there in the background, but it's not something that fills your mind,
it's more of a backdrop to life.
We live in a city filled with space,
and amazing art. Lots of grass and lots of carparks!
We live in a city where every second person is a tradesperson,
and the bars are full of Irishmen who come for work.
Most of the time, we probably don't even notice
as we go about our daily lives.
No longer are we stepping carefully in the footsteps of the day before,
or the month before, or the year before.
It's just how it is here.
Long after everyone else has forgotten that we lived through this disaster,
while the rest of the world imagines that life has returned to normal,
we live in a city that has had the heart torn out of it,
but we live with grace and style.
We go about our daily life bolstered by the lessons we learned
as we endured 1000s of aftershocks,
as we queued for clean water for months,
and as we watched our city be demolished over years.
This Christmas, I'm so grateful that our family can celebrate together,
that we have not only survived the last four years,
but that we have grown and changed as well.
I'm actually grateful for that well-worn path,
the things that we remember (we can't forget them)
the things that didn't kill us, but did actually make us stronger.
I'd never in a million years chose to live through a natural disaster like this,
but seeing as what we have, I'm glad to live it with my fellow Christchurch friends
and to have the shared experience and lessons
to take through the rest of our lives.
(All the photos in this post were taken by the lovely Roz this weekend
and used with her permission)