22 February 2012

It is difficult for me to re-live the scenes of February 2011. This programme was broadcast shortly after the earthquake, and we watched it air whilst the threat of aftershocks was still ever present.

I worry that, regardless of their liking, many people will be urged today to revisit these trying moments of the yesteryear, and I know that it is never a comfortable feeling to have to commemorate the memory of a loved one or even to contemplate that of total strangers with whom you may have crossed paths once, or twice, or never.

But if the events of February 2011 have taught us anything, it was that there are no strangers in Christchurch, or indeed anywhere in this world.  Amid the ashes of any given tragedy, it seems we are all united by a common urge to show love, to receive kindness and to reciprocate compassion.  Humanity is strange in the way that it never really learns to value things before they are gone.  We never realise what we do or say until damage has already been done, only to regret it later when it’s too late — as if to salvage broken artifacts from the rubble of their stores and repositories of foregone times.

The 2011 earthquake, amongst other things, has left me pondering the delicate fragility of life, and it has taught me to live life as if this day were my very last.  I had a brush with what could have been a potentially fatal injury that day — and am indebted to sheer luck to have escaped relatively and physically unscathed.

There will be others whose suffering I cannot bear to comprehend, nor pretend to understand.  My heart and thoughts go out to those who are bereft of their loved ones or have suffered loss in any other way.  Today will no doubt be a difficult day for many Cantabrians, but as always we will continue to put one foot in front of the other, and more importantly we will do so knowing that we are in the company of our good neighbours, colleagues, siblings, parents, spouses, strangers and friends.