Our Suffering: Part 1 - Savouring the Heartache
Part One of a 3-part story reminiscing the nation’s response to the Christchurch tragedy and considering what we can learn through suffering.
Aotearoa rocks! There’s no doubt about it. Godzone, Middle-Earth, you name it, there are more than enough chummy monikers circulating our beefy vernacular to describe the magic we all know and feel about our homeland. However, turning our gaze from a ravishing Papatūānuku and peering into the ngākau and recent circumstance of our people, we have been awed by the stellar light of a nation shining with support and care for our victims and for one-another. The stun of a gun has been blinded by a ray of love that has compelled us to drop the gloves of ideology and just be together.
One can’t help but be inspired by a deceased Muslim kaumātua – moe mai rā e te rangatira - who, filled with peace, greeted his assailant with, “Hello brother.” Or an Imam who defends his friends and chases said assailant with a credit card machine. Or our police officers, arm defenders and emergency response crews, nurses and doctors who have superseded their training with outstanding chivalry. Or consider our newscasts during the week – it was thoroughly human. The mish-mash of trivia and titillation was silenced by real humans talking to real humans about what really happened inside of us. Even Jeremy Wells dropped his eternal-teenage-persona and spoke to us as a man changed by empathy. All this to say - we have been undone and in the process we’ve been swept by a spirit of heaven in the middle of our aching earth.
Boy-o’-boy, Ōtautahi/Christchurch, we’re just so sorry that yet again you’ve had to endure a trial par-none. None of us wished the ground had quaked under you. We marvel at the patience, the tenacity and the collaborative creativity of the new city emerging from the dust of your feet. What once had the appearance of old colonial New Zealand now has the signs of an indigenous motif-laden city with a modern environmental awareness. It will be ‘The City’ of Aotearoa in decades to come because out of suffering you have reinvented yourself.
Now we have another heartache to deal with. Where buildings had once fallen, now living souls have fallen into the rubble of anguish and suffering and the dust has stormed across the whole country. This time it’s different. It’s deeper. It’s a level of suffering we are not familiar with, yet it has brought a level of unprecedented togetherness. Suddenly everyone knows where true human worth lies in-spite of politics, religion, culture, school-vs-school. The suffering has silenced our rivalries. It’s called out the inner judgement of who is an insider and who is an immigrant. We can see that’s just superfluous chatter in contrast to being alive.
Aotearoa: we have to hold this moment for as long as we can. We have to savour this heartache, we have to remember the pain because it is the antidote to the poison of ideological blindness that sets itself above the wellbeing of our kin.
Read Part 2 here