You Don’t Really Know Us

I read a few books, did little computer, little television, no writing.

Instead, we were present. The kids and I did cousins and family. And it was very good.

I love that these unplanned cousin journey pictures in Michigan and Minnesota so mimic each other. Summer and cousins are like peanut butter and jelly.

cousinsI love them.

cousins4On Saturday we rode the Amtrak home from Iowa. Fourteen hours. By then what had been uncomfortable quiet, had settled peacefully, and I people watched instead of doing.


There in one train car:

An amish family in traditional clothing, the little girls in bonnets.

A kindly gentleman on the way to babysit five grandkids who shared his seat with me.

Two young men one with black skin, one caucasian discussing zen buddhism philosophy.

… and the one I struggle to describe. Purple hair, engaged but in an open relationship (on the train, I guess), and recovering from a hangover. She ripped a color page of an intricate patterned elephant from an expensive drawing book, and poured brand new markers into a container before handing them to Ellie.

She asked what I did, and went on to share how she made a difference for close to an hour. She helps people with illness have a better life by dispensing medical marijuana. ‘I ease their pain, and there is nothing better.’ ‘Kind of like God easing the pain of our messed-up choices by forgiving.’


And I was reminded how much I love people.

His best creations. Everyone of us.


When we got home there was this:

You Don’t Really Know Us. An op-ed for the Chicago Tribune by students at Bradwell School of Excellence.

Listen to the the interview on Weekend Edition here. Read the whole article here.


They defend their neighborhood…

We want you to know us. We aren’t afraid. We know that man on the corner. He works at the store and gives us free Lemonheads…When the sun shines here, it’s not God saying he wants to burn us; he sees us all with bright futures…. This is home… this is us.


You don’t really know a person’s story, until you know.

And when you know, you love.


Fourteen days of silence and I think I’m right back where I belong.

10 thoughts on “You Don’t Really Know Us

  1. Thank you Lisa. You beautifully described what Jonathan and I have often felt living in this place and uncovering the beauty beneath some external wounds on people we have been privileged to meet and share life with. We believe that “where you stand/ live determines what you see,” Love you and your family so much!

  2. Lisa, beautiful post. Being all in the moment, being present is sometimes difficult. But, it’s always worthwhile.

    I’m learning to engage people in conversation in places like airplanes and restaurants. It’s not always easy, but when someone engages back? Those experiences are memorable. I’m glad you’re back!

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