This week has been one of paradox.
On the one hand I’m on vacation and exploring some new parts of Portland with my mother. I’ve taken her to some of my own favorite areas, like the Grotto and Main Street in Gresham, while also exploring a few new to me places as well. My two non-negotiable sites for the week were eating at the Multnomah Falls Restaurant and going to Pittock Mansion. I’ve lived in Portland for almost six years and am glad to finally have these two crossed off the To Do list. An unexpected triumph came yesterday during a training run when I wandered for 13 miles throughout NE Portland, and a little into SE. My legs have been sore all day, but nothing like the pain of my first half-marathon over a year ago. Yesterday was my longest solo / non-official run ever and the first time I’ve run with water bottles strapped to my side (a necessity in 70+ degree weather). Like I said, unexpectant triumph.
On the other hand, this has been one of my least favorite weeks ever. If you know me in the real world in Portland, you probably already know details of changes taking place at work. And if you don’t know me or know the details, then simply imagine the sound of losing at Jenga and you get the gist. It is not that the world has fallen apart, simply that the noise and heart rate make it feel that way right now. With the tiles scattered across the table, its time to decide how to rebuild the tower.
It was with this paradox in mind that I wandered through Pittock Mansion this afternoon. This building and grounds regularly showed up in every Portland travel guide I looked at, or any “Top 10” lists on the internet. What I loved most were the “how did they do that” discoveries, like a shower with five nozzles or an office with two different phones (because apparently at one point Portland had two phone companies and you only call those people with the same company as you). The weather was perfect and the gardens just amazing; I definitely want to head back soon to head out on the trails. When I got to the basement, there was an exhibit celebrating 100 years of women’s right to vote in Portland. Paintings lined the wall celebrating the woman’s voice and some famous women in Oregon history. Two pieces especially stood out as I walked through and then for the rest of the day. The first I admit I cannot remember the image of, only the name: Resolve. That one word struck a chord inside as I considered this week and the ones ahead. I turned it upside-down and sideways in my mind, trying to discern what that emotional verb means. It is more than just a promise, a belief, or an action. It is a gantlet. The word declares “Here I stand.” Tonight I pray for the strength of character found in such a word.
The second piece was entitled “Ripples of Hope.” It had the silhouette of a girl on the end of a pier, with one foot just tapping the water, sending waves out into the lake. With one touch, she was making a significant impact to her world. Sometimes we are that touch of hope in the world, and sometimes we need someone to step in and remind us of the light at the end of the tunnel. This week, I think I’m in both places as are many around me. We want to be brave, to be supportive, to be the change we wish to see in the world. And we need someone to lean on. Tonight I pray for us all to experience good ripples.