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The Wishing Tree

In northeast Portland, Oregon, hope takes the form of a horse chestnut tree. It grows on the corner of Morris Street and 7th Avenue, and its branches are full of wishes. The tree grows on the property of Nicole Helprin, who first granted the tree its wishing status in 2013. Before leaving town, Helprin wrote out a few wishes and hung them on the tree, according to a story by a Portland news station. When she returned from her trip, the entire tree was covered in wishes like paper tinsel.

After that, Helprin posted instructions to the tree on a wooden clipboard. The note read, “This is a wishing tree. Please find a blank tag. Write your wish for you, a loved one, the neighborhood, etc.” Some wishes posted on the tree include, “I am wishing for … a year full of crepes,” “I wish for everlasting love,” “I wish for everyone to have what they need,” “I wish my dad was nice,” and “I wish to find my purpose and love for life again.”

Since then, the tree’s branches are never bare of wishes. The tree seems unaffected by its status as a stockpile of yearning. Sometimes, the tags blow off its branches and scatter around the neighborhood, perhaps an indication that they’ve just come true.

People of all ages scribble out desires, both public and private, and hang the tags on the tree in hopes that some greater power will fulfill them. But the majority seem to do with love--wishing for new love or longevity in the love they have. All the wishes are anonymous, making it easy to write something down and walk away.

Possible Preaching Angle:

Attributes of God; Love of God; Omniscience of God; Prayer to God – People have great longings and unmet needs but can only wish for fulfillment. The Christian has a loving Father in heaven who constantly hears our prayers and can do “far more than all we ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20-21).”


Staff, “Wishing Tree,” AtlasObscura.com (2-18-20)

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