Discovering Beauty in THE TOWN

Post Grad Duck #16

The semester is about to come to a close and as it does, I’m going to attempt to put into words what it is exactly that I have been doing these past few months and what I have learned. This is no easy task. I’ve blogged about happenstances, sure. I’ve told you about hardships I’ve faced, yes. I’ve even mentioned the faithfulness of the Lord through it all, but I still feel like it’s all just been snapshots of what life has been for me during the first semester of my internship.

There are so many facets to what I’ve been learning, so many various parts of this job that I could talk about. Breaking them up and giving them each their proper respect seems like the right thing to do.  I ask that you bear with me, maybe you’ll discover something in my jumble of words that you find worth while. At least, that’s what I hope.

So let’s get started. Here’s part 1. The Town: State College, Pennsylvania.
As it turns out, it’s harder to write about the town than I thought. I’ve typed several paragraphs and found that they didn’t quite satisfy exactly what I wanted to say about this town. And truthfully, what I come up with may still not be exactly what I want to say, but I’ve got to say something…

It’s been said that you can’t define something by explaining what it’s not. For example, if I was going to describe a cup, I wouldn’t say “It’s not a bowl, nor is it a plate.” That doesn’t really give you a depiction of the cup; however, in the case of this quirky little town called

1) State College, it’ll have to do.State College is not a city. It doesn’t have large buildings, or bright lights, or a skyline.

2) State College is not a place privy to a lot of ethnic diversity. The bulk of the diversity comes from the international students on campus, and even still it’s not that great of a number.

3)State College is not very big. You can get anywhere in town from almost any spot in town in about 10 minutes or less. The only reason it would take you longer to get from point A to point B is because of traffic downtown. (And with so many pedestrians, the lights can only stay green for so long or else no one will ever be able to cross the street).

4) State College is not very loud. This could be interpreted as being a place that doesn’t really have much going on (*spoiler: that’s not true.)  The college students in the town most certainly can be quite noisy, but if you don’t live close to the university things are pretty quiet.

5) State College is not a place that I would choose to visit, at least not at this age. It’s a town that draws a certain type of person, typically  younger married couples, or those with children.

Now, I say all of these things a) because they are true, but b) because the juxtaposition of me and State College is kind of funny. I’m so attracted the bigness and the lights of the city, I’m black, I’ve already done the “small town thing” while in undergrad, I’m young and sometimes enjoy a little extra noise, I am neither married nor with children.

I am out of my comfort zone. I am wandering around a place that is unfamiliar and desperately trying to make it recognizable. But it is in this town filled with loyal Penn State fans, characteristics I could do without, strange laws, and the most 2-way stops I have ever seen within a 10 block radius that I have found Jesus.

1) State College is not a city, but it holds a community of people that have shown me the kindness and compassion of Christ in more ways than I deserve.

2) State College isn’t that diverse, but it ’s not a place that I feel uncomfortable or ashamed of who I am (as a young black woman and a daughter of Christ). I have the opportunity to move towards change and cultivate something different!

3) State College is not very big, but the number of times I have seen the faithfulness of Jesus revealed in various parts of this town has FAR exceeded my expectations. I’ve seen him work even in places like the salon where I go to get my hair done 🙂

4) State College is not very loud, but the stillness and quiet has allowed me to  be more sensitive to the presence of my Savior.

5) State College is not a place that I’d like to visit, but it is the place where I currently live and I am really thankful.

I told someone recently that moving here was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done and settling in has been one of the hardest feats I’ve had to conquer. But I also told that same someone that if I had to do it all again in order to know what I do now, to see Jesus work in the ways that I have, and to experience such sweet moments of joy, I would.

So what has the town taught me? Well, that Jesus is here and that He is at work. It’s also taught me to look for beauty–it exists even in places where we don’t always want to see it.

Yes, State College, you’re growing on me 🙂 Here’s a (mediocre) picture of one of the main streets downtown. The sun decided to make a quick appearance after days of being absent. IMG_9718.JPG

[Jesus, thank You for this little town I live in.]


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