Christchurch has been good to me. It has given me the opportunity to see it laid bare, see it’s entrails and bones. To see behind the signs and Chamber of Commerce nonsense and the stiff upper lip and the strained smiles.
It has shown me, in graphic detail, how a community can pull together in the face of seemingly-insurmountable odds, to look forward with some optimism but still shedding a tear about it’s past.
It will never be the same.
So, yes, the people and the town are resilient.
But let’s not be all Pollyanna-ish about this. The town WILL never be the same. It may not return as strong as it was before. People and jobs have left and may never come back. It may be permanently scarred. The pain will never go away for families of those lost in the debris.
Maybe that’s just part of the price one must agree to when deciding to live on a fault line.
Yesterday I watched some wrecking equipment bite into a relatively new building. The equipment wrapped a mechanical jaw onto part of a wall, a saw tore into concrete, and a chunk of wall fell.
And standing with me as the wall collapsed were people just like myself. Silent. Awestruck. Some level of morbid interest to watch the wall plummet to the dusty ground. It’s cool to watch stuff being busted up and fall.
I turned around and loped away.
I can do that. I can and will return home to friends and family and to a normal life.
These people, these strong, realistic and upright folk, have little semblance of a normal life. Now and forever, their lives will never be the same.
Just like Christchurch. It will never be the same.