Some random thoughts after my first Earthquake

A Dutchy; I never experienced a earthquake and this was quite an introduction. So excuse me for being incoherent, distracted, or sensible even. What a crazy weekend and start of the week this has been. How lucky and blessed we feel for the little damage suffered (one plate and potentially a sector or two on my hard drive which was running in the midst of all of this.)
I wish everyone had been that lucky. At ten the house was filled with people cats and a dog and all  could think off was to play guitar, quietly in the background!?!? And at night when everyone is asleep that’s want  want to do more than anything. Quietly to God, as my way of saying thanks and being in His presence.

Look at the news and one could easily say: thanks!!!????  But I look at all the damage and the force of the quake is so clear. What an incredible miracle that the damage is limited basically to property only. NO CASUALTIES I could not help but thinking that there may be more to the name of this city: Christchurch.

Sunday, Father’s Day: we tried but it was definitely different. No church, which felt strange and unsettled in the first place, but safety comes first of course. My camera was burning in my pocket but at the same time what a horrendous thought; so instead time was spend contacting the homeland via email and phone. I did not want to be away from the family in any event and we were advised to stay at home to keep the roads clear as much as possible.

It is on these occasions you realize how the way news is presented can be traumatizing for the left-behind family and friends. My mother at some point told me to be honest as how could it be that after what she just saw on the news in the Netherlands that there was nothing major a few kilometers down. But that is how it is: in some parts of town it seems like nothing ever happened.

Monday was officially kids day. The weather was bright and we took our children together with those of other families in and out, so parents could go and check up on their workplaces or just have some time for themselves. Well the kids certainly seemed to need it, there was all the blowing off of steam in all possible senses, good friends fighting  and making up again, running, screaming, laughing, crying, attention seeking. I found a new respect for pre-, prep- and primary school teachers. At the end of the afternoon day the barbeque was lit and we shared a meal ( with as a special rule: you are not allowed to go to the supermarket: a what’s in  the fridge barbeque and it worked out great), some drinks and updates with parents from the neighborhood.

Tuesday went out for guitar lessons it all felt quite uneasy going away from the family with aftershocks still occurring and so surreal, knowing that a few miles down people had lost their houses, their businesses, their jobs . I drove through the northern part of the city and it is so hard to imagine that the devastation in the city center is so severe. More students in the afternoon and evening. It is quite strange if you feel guilty about doing your work.

Today we were rudely awakened by an aftershock of 5.1 telling is that things are not over yet. It was this one that finally got to my nerves especially considering that my wife just advised she’d go in to work. She was luckily enough back soon as buildings initially declared safe would need a re-inspection. Cousin over so he would not be alone while parents were at work, what a great guy!

On News Coverage

I also realized how the way news is covered worldwide, must have left many in the Netherlands (family an friends) in a complete shock. I personally found the updates in the New Zealand Herald the most useful, hence the link below.

Read Latest updates: Christchurch earthquake – National – NZ Herald News.

Other sites I found useful are:

One site that gives a clear yet distant scientific picture is Christchurch Quake Map where you can see graphically over time the quake and aftershocks as a movie that can be played and paused and well… the rest.

And now later in the evening this silly feeling is creeping in again: it has been quiet for too long, that must be the silence before the storm; for yet another massive aftershock, the biggie we have not had yet. Ain’t it crazy: I get unsettled from the aftershocks when they are there just as much as when they are not there!!??

On procrastination

I don’t know how many times I told myself that I should take a day to photographically record all the beautiful spots an architecture my eye has fallen on in the last year. Many of those places /buildings will no longer be there. So from now on no more “manana”: DO IT WHEN YOU CAN as you never know what tomorrow will bring: in our case an earthquake.


It was in these days that I realized how easily things work in good times when it comes to our faith. Well grounded in daily reading of the Bible an a continuous  state of prayer by now, I found it hard to read as well as pray an concentrate. It is very easy to skip all this in times when we need our prayer and Bible reading most! And Psalm 121 especially spoke to me.

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from?

2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber;

4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The LORD watches over you—the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life;

8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Psalm 121 and God’s protection. The psalmist looks at the mountains not so much because that’s where he expects his protection to come from but because that’s where he’s reminded of his creator; God who created the universe, and hence he’s reminded of the divine sources available to him.

Your security as a child of …God does not so much depend on you holding on to the Father but the Father holding onto you. That’s certainly how it seems to me.

I found this beautiful rendition of the Psalm in Hebrew on youtube.

I did not understand a word but it spoke to me just the same.

Another appropriate Psalm was recommended by a good friend.

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. [a]

2 I will say [b] of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,my God, in whom I trust.”

3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.

4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,

6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.

8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.

9 If you make the Most High your dwelling—even the LORD, who is my refuge-

10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;

12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.

16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”


1. Psalm 91:1 Hebrew Shaddai

2. Psalm 91:2 Or He says

So fitting as well and it certainly comforted me reading these words. It is so very easy to say: well look at the center, quite a protector. Bit from both these Psalm it becomes so clear that God, which Jesus so eloquently teaches us as well, is in the business of saving lives not so much saving property and ‘stuff.’ And what was the dead toll again? ZERO! It truly is a miracle, and that’s all I can say about it.

Well that’s it for today, I guess I am still too confused to write anything sensible or coherent. I will try to be better next time.

Photo Journal: Porters Pass and Psalm 121

Those that know me a little better know that I am not particularly a fan of snow. When people talk about snow fun I usually start to glare as snow fun used is like a “contradictio in terminus” for me. But, we ended up taking the boys to the snow. All the excuses  could not rescue me and in all fairness, I do not know a child that does not love snow.I tried hard to escape the inevitable, tried every excuse in the book yet to no avail. In hindsight I am glad, since I have to admit that I actually enjoyed being out there in Porters Pass.

And Porters Pass is where we had to go to find some snow. I must say what dd strike me we the amazing views on the way. In Psalm 121 we res how the the psalmist says

I lift up my eyes to the mountains, from where shall my help come. My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

The psalmist looks at the mountains in their majesty and grandeur asking himself where his help shall come from. While fully aware that his help will not be coming from the mountains, they remind him of the grandeur of the One who created the earth, further realizing that it is this same Creator that will be his Helper. What a standard he sets by which to measure the divine resources available to the psalmist.

Now while the previous picture sort of provides a promise (of snow) I was truly blown away by the sights and light once we were up at the bottom of the ski field. I was amazed with the diversity of the views

Or what to think of these incredible Keas as if waiting to be snapped.

And once the sun comes down and is less sharp beautiful sights are waiting to be recorded on the camera.

What an amazing day this turned out to be. More to be expected soon on my flickr photo stream.

And what a great Helper and Keeper He turned out to be: I was surprised by joy in an environment I could not have disliked more. What was a nightmare for the sake of the children turned out to be a fantastic day with great company.Thanks Darryl and Melissa. Thank you God for making me go beyond and teaching me family first and setting aside my selfishness and showing me the grandeur of your creation and how you made a potential nightmare into a nice family day.

At the same time, some are just not as easily impressed lol.