The Shakes

Dropped some stuff in to the Wellington library’s collection for Christchurch.  It is a very very small thing, more symbolic than anything else, but it looked as though a lot of others were doing other small things.  The librarians were having to empty the containers quite regularly, I was told.  
Set aside the magnitude of the earthquake, unless you’re actually digging people out or helping patch them up then pretty much anything you can do seems pretty small.  The point is to try to do something. 
We’re such a small country, spread along these slender islands so very far from anywhere else.  What’s the first thing New Zealanders who don’t know each other do when they meet overseas?  Usually, it’s to work out who we know in common. And we usually find someone, although it may take a drink or two to work it out.
So there’s an instinctive reaching out for each other when something this big and awful happens. Most of us who haven’t lost someone want to be part of this, want to help.  Those who have lost someone, I’m sure, just want it all to stop. And the hard and awful thing is that its not going to.
Supermarket scene yesterday:   a woman from Christchurch dissolves into shaking and tears because she walked in without grabbing a shopping basket and now can’t get back through the turnstiles to get one.
I get her a basket as I come in: she thanks me as she phones her friend waiting in the car and says ‘I’m sorry, I’m not ready for this.’ Her friend comes in, takes her hand, tells me apologetically  [God, we can be so damnably polite at times] that they were caught up in the earthquake.
I say something banal but hopefully encouraging and we all move off down separate aisles. 

I was off work when the shake happened, for reasons which, when set aside the earthquake, can be filed under ‘don’t matter a hill of beans’.  The week is a bit of a jumble, about as jumbly as this post.
Stephen Stratford has a link to a wondrous performance of the First Lamentation of Maundy Thursday, based on the words of the Prophet Jeremiah. 

From memory, there’s a bit somewhere in the Bible where Jeremiah shakes his fist at God and asks the Big Fella what He’s playing at.

To which I can only say, Amen, brother. 

One thought on “The Shakes

  1. I'm sorry that you're in not such great shape at present, Rob, being off work and all. The reasons are important, and they remain important, even though another part of our country has been it by disaster.

    It isn't going to stop soon, and there's so little that those of us in the rest of the country can do. Except send money, and listen to what the people of Christchurch have to say. Some listeners have apparently complained to Radio New Zealand about the earthquake coverage, saying that they are tired of hearing about it, and they would like to hear some other news now.

    I have seldom heard anything so selfish, that those of us living in secure houses, with running water and electricity, and all the good things of 21st century life, can't even lend our ears. The rest of us must keep on listening, and listening, until the people of Christchurch have each had their chance to tell their story.


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