A beautiful thing happened the other day. The morning was normal, woke up shortly after E was on his way to work. Had a good day. But we were going out for lunch, to activate our bank cards and get something to eat.
We got to the bank, got the pins activated and then everything stopped. The entirety of New Zealand stopped. For two minutes the entire world around us shut down. Well except for the muzack in the mall playing some Paul McCartney song. But other than that, everybody stopped.
Even the kid who had been screaming holy bloody murder moments before, even that unruly child stopped its selfish screams of discontent for two minutes. And you knew, you knew that even from your small corner of the country, that the entire country had stopped as well. Radio and television broadcasts ceased, transactions of any kind halted, and silence was held.
The number has been put at 160 people who as of right now will not be coming home. These are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncles, and children, babies who will not be coming back from lunch out in the city.
I have been in New Zealand for twenty days now, and even being here for so sort a time, my life has not been untouched by what has happened on the South island. I have friends who are not working, who are trying to escape from the endless shaking and the memories. I have a friend who has lost somebody, who knows personally one of those 160.
I can not even begin to express my sorrow, the pain that I feel even as an outsider as I am for this tragedy and this country and these people that I am quickly coming to love. As a foreigner in this land, I can only begin to scratch the edges of how this feels to those who have lived and loved here their entire lives.
But from the ashes of the purging flame leaps the phoenix burning bright upon the wing.
The kiwi spirit lives on. In the student army, volunteers from secondary schools and universities grabbing their shovels and their boots and tramping out by the thousands into neighborhoods to help those who as of yet cannot quite help themselves.
In the man who has put the several ton boulder that came through his wall from the quake up for auction on the local ebay site. He has named the boulder Rocky, and insists that Rocky makes for fantastic indoor/outdoor flow.
In the mayor of Christchurch, Bob Parker who has shown up to every camera and press conference in whatever clothing he could find, has been honest, forthcoming, and at times brutally so, but with the true touch of heartfelt pain that it’s obvious he loves his city, and her residents, very much.
In the faces of those who are fleeing Christchurch, and those who are heading into the battle against nature and time. In the silent tears of the spoiled brat who stopped screaming its displeasure for those two minutes of silence the other day, there is one thing that has not been shaken, and I doubt will ever be shaken.
The Kiwi Spirit continues on.
I love this place, and these people.