Since September 2010, we in Christchurch have been in the grips of a once-in-a-lifetime experience (at least, we hope it’s only once!) or maybe I should say, we’ve been through 11,000 experiences.
We know we can survive. It’s the living that has troubled many of Canterbury’s finest citizens.
And each of us felt the outcomes in a different way. Judging by the outpouring of sympathy, and the inpouring of financial support from around the country and indeed the world, most people thought the earthquakes to be an unprecedented disaster. And they were. Some people, however, see them as an unprecedented opportunity, a chance to renew, revitalise and refresh the city, a time for reflection on what is really important, and of course, the quakes were that too. It’s all in the way we see it. No view is wrong or right as all of us have our own backgrounds and circumstances, but I invite people to see what they CAN do next.
The fact remains that whichever camp you’re in, Christchurch has had a lot of earthquakes over the last two years, and a lot of changes. We all know that some people fared well out of it, and some didn’t. What is undeniable is that everyone has a story that is personal to them and will be theirs for life – that is our true shared legacy.
Crisis, disaster or opportunity, the choice is ours. The Chinese I Ching says ‘out of crisis comes opportunity’. Of course it’s easier to see opportunity from a safe house in the west than peeking through the cracks in your east-side walls, but the answer is the same. Earthquakes, it seems, are inevitable; suffering is optional.
There is an opportunity for everyone to have their own remarkable recovery story, a story of overcoming a major natural event. A story of survival, of courage and maybe of heroism. How we treat an event is our choice. We can bury our heads ad hope it goes away, or we can experience the experience, take charge and create a memory worth passing down through the generations. Either way, it will pass in time; how do we want to remember it is the question.
There is a lot of fear and worry in the world.
Perhaps the best lesson I have had is giving things a go.