Being Known

I have three children attending public schools which means that the dreaded word “fundraiser” is spoken around here quite often. But just the other day I added a few choice adjectives to that poor fundraiser. My son’s sales had arrived and I (still) have no idea where our pink copy of the sales sheet is. You know the one that tells me who I need to call before schlepping a box of yummy cookie dough across town? Yeah, that one.  With some head scratching and a few texts to family members, it came down to a lone box of pretzels still needing a home.

Oldest looked at the box, tilted his head to the side for a bit and then proclaimed the name of a neighbor who happens to attend our church. But when he added, “I think” I suggested he look at her picture in the church directory.

“Nope. That’s not right. Must be somebody else. But I really thought it was her,” he puzzled.

It turns out, the pretzels do indeed need to travel to her house. When I told Oldest his guess was correct, he shook his head.

“I swear Mom, she doesn’t look like the lady in that picture.”

And she doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it is a good picture of her. It is just that the picture cannot capture the life force we connect with her name.

In other words, who we know is far more complex than a color photo in the church directory can ever hope to convey.

The laugh that includes a deep chuckle. The smile that starts at her mouth but crinkles up her eyes. The way she has of looking inside of you and really seeing you.

There are so many aspects of ourselves that allow us to be known; to be truly known by others. As a mom, I know my children by the texture of their hair, their steps on the stairs, their very smell. And yet, sometimes I see a photograph of my babies and see something new. I recognize them, but it is like I am seeing a new aspect of them. And I wonder what folks think when they see those three little people around whom my world revolves. Because a stranger probably doesn’t recognize the power in my children’s expression – to know them is to be changed by them–at least for me.

To know them is to love them. As is true for all of us.

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5 thoughts on “Being Known

  1. I find it an endless source of contemplation…this what we know of others, what they know of us, and what neither knows that the other thinks is known, or vice-versa….Eventually it comes back to that “Now we see as through a glass dimly..”

    One of my favs – Knowing a person by how you feel when they walk in the room.

    “You will always be known by the company you keep” – Gypsy Rose Lee (Sure other people know you by who you keep company with, but also the “company you keep” will always know you.)

    I’ve been known to buy a case or two of fund raiser chocolate bars, just so my daughter wouldn’t have to go sell them. I really hate sales.

    Thanks for this.

  2. Good post! So true about photos not capturing the essence of a person. Some pics are better than others, of course, but none of them can really convey all those intangibles that go into…well, the life force, I suppose you’d call it.

  3. My wife is a very attractive person, but she does not think of herself as such, and she hates photographs of herself. One of the problems is that photographs do not display her in motion (as she usually is), with all the animation, gestures, and tones of voice.

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