I spent some time at Tahunanui today. It was hard stepping onto my place of peace and seeing the debris that was left by the storm.
Parts of the cafe boardwalk were missing, pieces of it rested where the sand dunes used to be, posts that used to guard the dunes lay on the ground in piles. Instead of shells and sand dollars joining the ocean with the shore, a blanket thick with sticks and rubbish was left in their place.
I know this doesn’t seem so bad in the larger scheme of things, but when a place you love is damaged and changed it feels deeply personal. It’s difficult to get used to. The time of recovery is something we wait out hopefully, while we get used to a new kind of normal. I know that in time, its peaceful beauty will be restored once again, although in a different way, as things are set back in place and strengthened.
Storms don’t leave us the same either. There is always a time of reshaping, of letting the debris fall where it may as we attempt to find our new normal. This is a time for giving ourselves as much patience and grace as we can.
The storm shows us what matters most in our lives, it shows us that what we have is worth fighting for. It reminds us of the strength we have to get through, and the God who loves us abundantly through it all.