Saturday, 12 March 2011

The Stages of Grief.

Nearly three weeks on from the big quake and, the reality of the horror of what we have all been through is starting to sink in for a lot of people. 

The first phase I think of as "Survival Phase", where everyone is focussed on cleaning up, getting food, boiling water and just struggling to do the basics.

Phase Two is "Processing Phase" where we take time to process the trauma of the event and realise that for most of us life is going to be different now in many respects.

Phase Three is the "Rebuilding Phase."

I feel as a city we are probably coming into Phase 2. Most people have their power, water and phones back (although many still don't have toilets!) and so life has come back to a form of normality.  Also, many who left town for a couple of weeks are coming back to the devastation of broken homes, lost employment and a broken city.

After a huge amount of work in the first couple of weeks, coping with family and church issues, I have had the time in the last few days to begin to process all that has happened, and the gravity of the shock we have all had. In that one day of the big quake, there were so many traumatic things happening, that I feel as though I almost have to go back and work through each one.

I really miss "normal" and know that nothing will ever be normal again the way it was. I have to get used to the fact that there is a "new normal" to work towards.

It is so important after a trauma or crisis, that we do take the time to deal with the pain and shock of what we have been through.

It is really important to grieve, to ponder the losses, to pray and ask God for comfort and healing from some of the trauma, and to spend time talking and hanging out with good friends.

Talk is healing. Telling others how you feel. Tears are also God's way of releasing tension, anxiety and emotions. It is very healthy to cry.

Most of all, we need to stick close together as a church. We need to love one another and be there for each other. We need to ask for help when we need it.

This is where community is so wonderful. We have a huge army of friends who can be there in our time of need.

If we spend time sorting through Phase Two, then we will be ready to think about Phase Three... rebuilding our lives and our City. 

While I feel grief at losing so many of our wonderful heritage buildings, I know we have some incredibly talented and creative people in Canterbury, who can build another beautiful and unique City Centre that will be stronger than before and safer for our people.

We are in for a long journey, but the destination is a good one!