Thursday, February 24, 2011

For the 300

At the beach this morning I thought of those 300 shattered lives. I set out to gather 300 shells, one for each of them, sending prayers as I worked. But 100 was as many as I could manage. Each shell fragment represents not just a life lost, but the grieving families and friends.
100 is a lot to handle. I placed them in this memorial arch, imagining the number multiplied by 3 and filling the space.
As I worked, two women leaned over a railing above the beach. One was a friend. She was accompanied by a Christchurch woman, who staying in Auckland when the quake struck. She has no way of knowing whether her home is still intact. Last year she suffered her own traumatic loss of a family member. When she saw what I was doing, she asked if she could add a shell of her own. So there it is, in the corner, reminding us that tragedy can strike in single, isolated incidents as well as devastating mass events.
Today the newspaper is including photos of some of those who died. I managed to pick up another fifty shells, aware of each one as a person who was alive and well a few days ago, and then I could do no more.
May all those souls find release and peace. May everyone find the strength they need to restore order and faith in life.

9 comments:

lifeonthecutoff said...

An amazing and touching memorial to the lives lost and those who have lost loved ones, Juliet. Wasn't it amazing that just as you were finishing up, a citizen of Christchurch appeared and saw your shells? It gave me the chills to read that. I believe we all have a purpose(s) in life that manifest themselves at times least expected. This was one of those times as you honored those lost and those waiting.

juliet said...

Yes, it was extraordinary to speak with her and hear her story, and she was greatly comforted to see what I was doing. At the time, her appearance felt unsurprising, and natural. It's only now that I get the goose bumps. Thank you Penny for being part of this web of support that I feel extending around the globe.

Marilyn said...

A very beautiful memorial. It is impossible to comprehend that as many as 300 people have gone, that they went off to work never to return home. This is a beautiful way to mark their lives.

Joan said...

That is beautiful. 100 is too many. Just reading Still Standing on he Head blog.. Catherine in Chch. The Assessor was assessing her chimney when the quake hit.. and the chimney came down! Oh the stories..and the sadness.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your beautiful posts Juliet, your blog gives something of a momentary haven and space to pause in the enormity of all this.
Thank you

Anne Dean Ruffell said...

I am moved beyond words by the tragedy of the Christchurch quake and wish I could express my feelings as well as you do Juliet. I shall use your prayer to send my thoughts to those who are suffering.

Marilyn said...

Thinking of you on your Summer Retreat at Waiheke, a very special place.
I know that everyone will be filled with the beauty and peace of the island and also from all you cover on the retreat.

juliet said...

Thank you all for your messages. I am about to leave for the Summer Retreat on Waiheke Island. This is a perfect time to be in community. We will be filling ourselves with goodness and safety so that we are strong. From our full hearts we will be offering prayers and blessings for Christchurch.

realruth said...

Dear Juliet, your beautiful tribute made me cry (I've been crying a lot this week). Thank you from inside the Christchurch cordon. Love, Ruth