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cable cars and baby eyes…

downtown-portland.jpgIt happened the way Portland usually seems to play with my affections…the city goes a bit quieter than usual… shuffles and scatters its many walkers around just enough to call some it its bigger streets empty… drops randoms leaves from nowhere and somewhere… runs its fingers full of wind through everyone’s hair, especially the ones who would humorously bat it away… it seems to hum and hymn of its long forgotten stories, it’s sound pulses, breathing gently in and out, as though it were perfectly relaxing away just another day… filling it’s otherwise nook and cranny landscape with tongues doused in geographic and economic accent…   


Portland is the homeless man who winds through another day, just scraping by… and it is the garbage man who probably receives less eye contact in a day than he does respect… it is the misunderstood, confident Gothic girl draped in anything black…

it is the readers that fill and finance the coffee shops by trekking to their second homes, laced with literature and latte… it is the quiet face of a native born Thai woman who seems more taken back by my eye contact than my hug oddly enough… it is the cable car that is noisy but never seen as rude…

it is the corporate man sharing space at a crosswalk signal with a young Asian orphan named Tyler who will likely never own a cell phone, or at least not one as expensive as Joe Shark to his left… it is the breast cancer survivor shirt that just ran past me on the left… and the resident crazy man who leads out with bellows and protest about political issues that have long been decided upon…”We need to kick Reagan out”… it is the “Fuck your God” tee-shirt tightly hugging a rather barrel chested man who grinned as I walked past with the Bible in my hand… portland-and-hood-snow.jpg

it’s the hungry eyes I see in so many of the students wandering around the inner city campus of Portland State… it’s the lonely hazel eyes of the bread shop girl who looked right into mine and leaned in so close she could have stolen a kiss if she had dared it… it’s the blood shot eyes from the elderly woman named Moira making her daily 6 block trek through the wind and allergies, all in a hope that she would get a bed at the Rescue Mission for the night…

it’s the grizzled chin of a disabled man named Charlie downtown who smelt of whiskey and what I could only guess was the sweat of someone else all over him (the corporate guy had the same smell…what stories those must be)…

portland-kids.jpgit’s the baby crying just within earshot, and the baby peacefully draped on the nannies’ back wondering why his fellow baby is making a fuss… it’s the stray dog looking for scraps and affection and the poodle covered in sweater and rhinestone, sitting anxiously in a purse about its’ size… it’s the “free Love” body paint that traversed the old man’s bare back to my right… it’s the tired Mom of the three kids who won’t stop tugging at her shirt tail and what I imagine to be her life… it’s the breast feeding Mom in the park and the “A sex offender just moved in” notice pinned inches from her on a rather tac-holed electric post.

AND… Portland… for now…is my wandering green eyes… soaking up all that I do not deserve to be graced with and learn from… the people, the mountain in the clouds (Mt. Hood), the smells, the eyes, the sounds, the bridges that get so very overlooked as they’re crossed, the laughs, the unnoticed streets, the hurts, the fights, the intimacy, the shyness, the weeping, the indifference, the defeats, the food, the searching of so many, and the dreams that escape from people’s mouths as readily as the caffiene seems to enter them. I am steeped in a city God knew would exist..and one that He Loves deeply, even if it would rather try on every other shoe before ever even thinking about adorning Him as their resolution. (sigh) Portland… the eclectic miracle of the Pacific Northwest.


While it doesn’t entirely dwell in my depths as being home, I am grateful to God that He would allow me to share in this place that so many others, by choice and be default do call home. It is a door to another world I feel…  

I choose to honor Him with where He always knew I would end up.

Acts 17:26


About justingunter

I'm recently 29 years old, recently married and ready to change the world for God. He has called me to be a missionary! This means more than just changing zip codes and living in countries where I struggle (for a while) speaking the language the locals dream in. It means a lifestyle of sacrifice, audacious Hope and above all, a desire for Jesus simply because He is who He is. I moved to Franklin, TN in October 15th of 2012 and expect this to be the first of many changes for the great calling on the Gunter's life. Side note...I dig being married. It helps when you're married the best woman ever! Teale and I feel called to plant churches, combat sex trafficking and be a place of refuge and Holy sojourn to all who would seek to join alongside us for good or for a season. For now, Ol' Rocky Top is our home, Zoey is our Great Dane and we, the Gunters, love Jesus with all we have.

3 responses »

  1. I loved all your descriptions of the city. In South Dakota, my grandfather and I used to sit at the mall and people watch all the characters that make up the town of Aberdeen. Your depictions of the people and the city reminded me of that. :o)

  2. I’m glad I get to experience some of the awesomeness of Portland with one of my best friends. Can’t wait for more adventures

  3. My brother from another mother…

    How’s things? Serious mate… I have no idea whether I got your email right… so you best email me… what’s this parcel thing you’re talking about? 🙂

    And how’s the cd’s treating you? Working out to my angry music?

    I don’t care if you don’t feel called to Scotland… You’re coming over again this year whether you like it or not. Or maybe I’ll visit at some point. We’ll see.



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