Sunday, January 29, 2012

Silence is kept


I nurse my first cup of coffee for the day, blinking sleep from my eyes. 

I’ve recently started trying to pray through the Daily Prayer each morning.  I reach the opening prayer:

The night has passed, and the day lies open before us;
let us pray with one heart and mind.

Silence is kept.

Previously I’d been skipping over the “Silence is kept”, conscious of the limited time I have, and ploughing on to the next prayer so I can get through it all. 

But this day, I’ve managed to get up a bit earlier, so I linger in the silence.  I paraphrase the previous line to “I am here to pray with my heart and mind”.  Then I stop and listen.  I am aware of the sounds of the world around me – birds, traffic outside, children stirring in another room.  My mind is trying to think about the things I need to do today, but I make an effort to put that thought aside. I breathe.  Something deep inside me seems to be wakening just a little.  “I am here” becomes “Here I am”. 

As I read through the rest of the prayers, that something stays with me.  And when I finally get up, the empty space I’ve been feeling for the last 11 months now feels a little less empty.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2012 - The year of the rebuild

All around Christchurch at the moment there’s a lot of “deconstruction” going on.  The removal of damaged buildings and structures to clear the land for rebuilding the new.  It’s heart-breaking seeing buildings that have been part of my cityscape for decades being stripped out and torn down. 

From this…




…to this

Photo supplied by Deb Donnell, author of Cafe Reflections on Christchurch City 1975-2011. Find out more at

Photo: Christchurch City Libraries

I think that’s also a bit of a metaphor for how I’m feeling.  A part of my psyche has been damaged in some way, and has been “deconstructed” in a rather sudden, violent way on 22 February 2011. 

As I travel around my city I see too many empty spaces where there used to be something. Too many times I look at the gap and struggle to remember what used to be there. 

There’s also something inside me that feels like an empty gap, and I can’t remember what used to be there.  All I know is the hollow feeling that a part of me is missing. has been working hard putting something creative into the empty spaces in the city, with ideas like:



And in Cashel Mall, where my world crashed down around me and changed my life, what looked like this:
Photo: Dean Norrie at

Photo: Booksellers New Zealand

After a bit of this:

now looks like this:

Photo: Mark Lincoln


Photo: Malcolm Locke

What was “dead” has now been resurrected into a new, vibrant life. 

So for myself, 2012 will be the year I rebuild emotionally, rebuilding Hope, Faith and Life into what will hopefully be a new, improved me.

(Edit 19/1/2012: Photo from Dean Norrie added)