“So do you like it here?”
The question is asked in various ways. Sometimes to ask how we’re settling in. Sometimes to fill a gap in the conversation. Sometimes I detect another question behind it: “Are you going to stick around?”
I’m ready with my answer: “Yes, we love it here.”
Our family moved to Westport a month ago. We’re “new Coasters”, moved over from Christchurch. Our older kids attend South School, our youngest is at Westport Kindergarten. We’re loving the space, the sense of adventure, the quiet streets to cycle on, the friendliness of the locals, and living only 100m from the West Coast Brewery. It’s all a lot calmer than earthquake-ravaged Christchurch.
Of course, not everything is perfect here. The length of time it took to get parts for our broken washing machine, for instance. A family of 5 creates a lot of laundry in 2 weeks! And for those of you who have been around longer than I have, you know Westport has had its ups and downs: the uncertainty of industry here, the closure of the cement works, the provision of healthcare and the saga around the replacement of the Buller Hospital.
One word stands out though, as I think about our first month here in Buller. Contentment. I’m content with how life has worked out. A guy called Paul wrote in the Bible: “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in need.” That’s how I try to live my life.
I’m a Christian Pastor, so it’s second nature that I turn to the Bible to give me perspective on life. But there’s wisdom in these words for all of us. Learning the secret of being content – that’s a project worth undertaking.
So yes, I do love living in Westport. And whilst I don’t know what the future will bring – I’m content with where God has placed me.
This post first appeared as a Church and Community Article in the Westport News on 1st March 2019
NZ Maori identify themselves by their local mountain and river, but I grew up in the south of England where the land is flat, and our local river - the Blackwater - lived up to its name as being one of the most polluted streams in the UK. So now I'm claiming the Buller River, or in te reo Maori the Kawatiri, as my own.