There is Beauty in the World, So Much Beauty in the World!

I am certain we looked quite conspicuous, but we felt welcomed and pleasantly surprised by the warm reception.  Numerous garbage trucks slowed and beeped their horns for Luca with one even stopping to roll down his window and greet us with a shout and a wave.  We stumbled upon a community park where we stopped to play and once again, I was taken aback.  The mothers and fathers at the park engaged us in conversation, and to think of it, not one of them was on their phone. There were actual human connections being made between parents, children, and complete strangers.  How amazing and refreshing to see.

I can’t even begin to count how many times people stopped to pet our dogs. There were women, men, old and young, but the most surprising were the big burly guys who would stop, rub the dogs’ ears, and tell us what beautiful dogs we had.

I keenly felt as though I was being taught a very important lesson on just how dangerous stereotyping can be, and just how important it is to be hospitable to those around us.  It caused me to ponder if my actions were always kind and considerate.  Do I always stop to let pedestrians pass?  Do I take the time to slow down and pet a passing dog or greet a stranger.  Am I willing to be inconvenienced to make someone else’s day a better one? What would a visitor say about my town?  What impression would they leave with? These questions lingered as I wandered the streets, accompanied by the words of a familiar song: “There is beauty in the world, so much beauty in the world.”

Beauty certainly takes on many forms in this city as it was bedecked in its springtime finest.  The row homes with their large bay windows were beautifully decorated with all manner of Easter décor.  I stopped every few feet it seemed to snap a picture of the beautifully potted tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, and flowering cherry and magnolia trees.

The city is also home to many architectural marvels such as the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art, its majestic cathedrals, and the skyline with its glistening skyscrapers, as well as the brightly colored boathouses lining the Schuylkill River.

We may not be able to boast of such grand structures, but our beauty is found in a myriad of other forms.  It can be found in our rolling hills, the patchwork of planted fields, the many jaw-dropping vistas, and our abundance of crystal-clear streams.  It’s a doe with her fawns, a flock of turkeys in the field, or a bald eagle soaring overhead.  It is the Juniata winding its way through the mountains, or a black bear lumbering across a mountain road with its cubs. It is also our beautiful churches with their Tiffany, stained glass windows, the Stone Arch Bridge, and our collection of beautiful, covered bridges.

I can humbly say I returned home with a new perspective just in time for Easter, filled with a renewed acknowledgement of our similarities and a deepened appreciation of our differences.  There is such beauty in diversity whether it be of people groups or locations.  “There is beauty in the world, so much beauty in the world!”

Happy Easter to you and yours.

Rhonda S. Kelley, Executive Director

Juniata River Valley Chamber of Commerce