We sang some lovely songs yesterday at church. My favourite was 'On Christ the Solid Rock I stand...all other ground is sinking sand.' You can imagine how we laughed when they announced the song. We had to meet at 2:30pm in different building because ours is made dangerous by the earthquake. It will have to be demolished. The pastor was tired. He'd been out seeing to all his people in the hard hit Eastern suburbs.
A church in Reefton made a nice afternoon tea for our people. They baked enough for every family to take home a cake and sent groceries. Another church (of different denomination) had baked cocolate chip cookies, and someone had sent water bottles and chocolate bars. All done to cheer us up and fatten us up as well, I guess.
In the bank the other day, they were giving away bottles of water. There were a fair few people in the queues, which is true of most every service in the city. I got to the teller and what happens all over, to everyone, happened again. We exchanged our earthquake stories. It's like a requirement to the start of every conversation. We must tell our stories.
After the teller heard my story, she excused herself and left me standing. When she came back, she brought a gift card for groceries. It was only fifty dollars worth, but still, have you ever recieved a gift from your bank? Don't they usually just take your money, smiling with great joy as they do so?
Everyone wants to help and there are so many attempts to cheer us up.
The whole country spent a day wearing red and black, the colours of the Canterbury rugby team. Annoucements of fundraising dinners and sausage sizzles and other ways get money to help rebuild the city abound. Farmer's Department story extended their special sale for Christchurch residents, requiring another trip to the mall. Live music was playing upstairs, a place I knew people had been badly hurt during the earthquake. And yes, I did think about earthquakes the whole time I was there. Those thoughts can really spoil a nice shopping trip!
It's hard to cheer us up. We go low again so quickly. It only takes a call to the insurance, a nasty little aftershock, a story in the newspaper, and we are soon sobered.
But I say --Go ahead. Cheer us up. The chance to smile or laugh, even for a few minutes, means an awful lot these days.