18 March 2011

"Get over it." "Move on." Nope, not just yet.

New Zealand is a small comma on the broad expanse of the Pacific Ocean, and our small comma has been shaken. Even those of us who didn't feel the ground moving have been moved by the scope and nature of the disaster; quake shaking buildings already destabilised by the previous quake, aftershocks that don't seem to ever stop.

We have new neighbours or classmates, people who've evacuated Christchurch and are trying to get on with life in Auckland, Dunedin, Wellington or Hamilton, often only taking part of their family with them and not knowing where to bury those they've lost.

Most of my posts for the last few weeks have been about the Christchurch earthquake. Some of my readers may think it is time to move on; there are disasters everyday somewhere in the world. We're seeing horrific photos from Japan where people I know and care about live and work.

The problem is, the headlines move on while the people from the previous disaster are still trying to find their loved ones and sort out their lives. Think tent city in Haiti! the devastation remains and people there still need aid to rebuild their lives and communities following the 7.0 earthquake of January 2010. Oh, wait, what about Katrina, New Orleans and her citizens?

Back in New Zealand, certain products, tools, etc are in short supply as they've all been rounded up and sent south to Christchurch. Who knew wheelbarrows, toilet seats and baby wipes would be so sought after? After Katrina, FEMA sourced trailers from all over the country to rehouse displaced people.

Rentals were hard to find before and were getting more expensive. Now, less than a month later, they are rare and prices soar. Supply and demand. When thousands of homes are unliveable and people don't trust the ground under their feet, they'll seek greener, more stable pastures.

The media is, of necessity, fickle. Consumers' attentions wander. Headlines shift on to new
news in new places affecting new faces. I get that. Gotta sell papers, ads, etc. But there's not much new happening yet for many people in Christchurch, or in Haiti, or in lots of other places that were yesterday's news, but are now just a mess for those who don't have the means with which to rebuild, restock or restart.

So no, I'm not quite ready to
"Get over it." "Move on." Nope, not just yet. There's something about the shared human condition that is worth maintaining. There's something about tragic suffering and loss that should connect with who we are at the core, without it seeming so remote that we reach for the remote to change to something entertaining.

9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. 11Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

14Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not think you are superior.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. ...

21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

The Bible, newer covenant, Romans 12:9-18 & 21, mixed translation, NLT & TNIV.

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