Things Really Can Get Better

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While we were looking forward to our recent trip, the invariable question from our friends was “Where are you going?” When I responded, “Pittsburgh,” I got a consistent response—sometimes verbal and sometimes non-verbal. It went like this: “Pittsburgh?”

I understand their puzzlement. Our true destination was all things Mister Rogers. It just happened that those things were in Pittsburgh. When I told a Pennsylvania friend about our trip, she responded that Pittsburgh is a lovely city. Then I had the same mental response that our friends and acquaintances had had: “Pittsburgh?”

Pittsburgh once had a reputation for being industrial, smoky, polluted—filthy.

When steel was no longer a workable economic base for the city, Pittsburgh leaders weren’t content with a forever decaying city. They worked to clean it up and find new ways to make it thrive. They succeeded.

I don’t know the exact locations of the following photographs from 1938. However, they remind me of views of Pittsburgh we saw recently, so I’d like to share my version of Pittsburgh Then and Now.

1938 View from Mount Washington

2021 View from Mount Washington

1938 View of a Coal Barge in Pittsburgh

2021 View of a Coal Barge in Pittsburgh

1938 Pittsburgh Skyline

2021 Pittsburgh Skyline

We live in a pessimistic culture that emphasizes the bad things that happen, a culture that trains us to look ahead and expect a dismal future.

I remember when Pittsburgh had a well-deserved reputation of being dirty and ugly. Today Pittsburgh sparkles. Simply being in Pittsburgh and seeing its sparkle was encouraging to me.

Christians have a firm hope for a sparkling future that is beyond what we could ask or imagine. Things can get better here, too. They can even sparkle. Thank you for training children to work to make that happen.

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity,
but of power and love and discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7



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