This Friday is my year-versary with Portland. It's a little hard to believe, but when I hit pause and think on all the things that have happened over the course of 12 months, it's actually quite believable. Days quickly turn into weeks, weeks into months, and it gets hard to separate the significant from the insignificant. That is the beauty of blogging people. Forced processing. Start writing, and something's bound to come to the surface.
I came to Portland with hope.
That's pretty much it.
I didn't know if things would work out, I didn't know if I would find a job, I didn't know if I would find a real sense of community, but I did know that the Lord wanted me here for reasons of His own. So I packed my things and moved down.
Things didn't fall into place all at once. I had to be patient- again, and again, and again...and again...and...again. I am still being patient, or more truthfully speaking, being forced to have patience. Quite the reoccurring lesson for me.
I moved into the guest room of an incredible couple. They generously shared their home with me as I struggled to find my footing.
I got a job working part time as a barista in the Alphabet district. I made coffee, I made pastries, I made friends. It was a great job to start out with, and part-time meant extra time to explore my new city. Since it was Spring when I arrived, I spent a good amount of time outdoors which continued into the summer. It is beautiful here. Green. Lush. Scenic. I walked to Forest Park after work. I rode my bike around Sauvie Island. I read books in the rose garden at Washington Park. I strolled along the boardwalk by the river. Life poured into me.
Come fall I got a new job in the SE as a full-time barista. The extra hours, and higher pay made it possible for me to move into a house in SE Portland- the focus area of my ministry.
I love my house. I love that I can walk to work. I love the Clinton neighborhood- the places and the people. Oh the people.
I have met some incredibles here. Some share many similarities, and some could not be more polar-opposite, but I love them. They are dear friends who shape me, challenge me, encourage me, and fill me with life.
I love the SE. It is a gem of a place. Since working at the bakery, I recognize many faces. I can walk to the grocery store and wave to my coffee shop 'regulars' working in their yards. I go to Clinton St. Pub with my co-workers after work to visit our friendly bartender, Wade, and talk it up with the fellow Clinton street service workers. It's a close community. Very close (some of my friends will read into that and giggle. They know why).
I go running in my neighborhood and pass by the quaint old houses, each with a history all their own. I feel connected.
On Sundays I hang out with my fellow church-planters, share a meal, a beer, and study the Word. I'm excited about where the Lord is taking us. I'm excited to root myself here.
In the past few months I have also been investing my time with an nonprofit called Oncology Youth Connection. The idea was birthed a few years ago, and it is finally starting to take off. Essentially it works to provide a sort of social support group for young adults with cancer. I have been playing the role of event coordinator, and am loving it. It's an incredible organization. The people I work with inspire me and I feel blessed to call them friends.
Sheesh. What a year, right?
It may sound picture perfect. It hasn't been, but I'm not choosing to talk about the struggles and the disappointments. We already know life is full of those. This is not a time to be cynical, because though I've faced some bumpy roads, I really do have much to be thankful for. There are reasons to be joyful, so I should celebrate them. After all, it is my year-versary.
This city has been good to me folks. Very good.
It may not be a place for everyone, but it is a place for me.