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Sharon Randall: Joy may be hiding in plain sight

If it had been a snake, it wouldíve bitten me. Thatís what my mother used to say when she found something sheíd been looking for that had been in plain sight all along.
My mother had nothing on me. If half of the things I look for were snakes, I wouldnít just be bitten. Iíd be dead.
Like the reading glasses that are perched on the top of my head. Or the car keys that I left in the ignition. Or the cell phone that should be in the bottom of my purse but isnít, of course, because I am talking on it.
Actually, that last trick belongs to my sister. She called me on her cell phone one day and we talked, as we do, forever. When the phone battery started chirping, she began rummaging for something in her purse.
ěWhat are you looking for?î
ěMy cell phone,î she said. ěMy house phone is dying. If I can find my cell, Iíll call you back.î
ěI think youíre talking on it.î
ěI am not!î she said.
Silence.
ěOK,î she said, finally. ěIíll call you back on the house phone. If I can find it.î
She will love this story.
My two boys, their wives and my 4-month-old grandson spent four days with us recently. But they did not sleep on our new air bed. Yes, that would be the fancy self-inflating, double-comfort air bed that my husband and I bought, stored and then spent hours looking for, strip-searching the house, the garage, every closet and rafter, peering suspiciously over the fences at our neighbors, to absolutely no avail.
Let me ask you: Who loses an air bed? Fully deflated, it weighs 75 pounds and wouldnít fit in the back of a Land Rover.
ěWhat did you do with it?î my husband asked.
ěMe?î I said. ěYou had it last.î
ěDid not.î
ěDid, too.î
For four days, my children slept like orphans in makeshift beds on the floor. And the day after they left, I found it. Or it found me. The air bed. In the guest room. Under the guest bed. Where I had stored it.
If it had been a snake ….
I couldíve sworn Iíd checked under that bed. Obviously, I had not. But sometimes the obvious doesnít seem obvious at all.
I thought of that this morning as I took last yearís calendar off the hook to transfer birthdays and other dates to the pristine pages of a brand-new year.
You might call it a rite of passage. Before hanging a new calendar, I like to take a few minutes to review the old one, to look back at where Iíve been and things Iíve done.
Every year brings much to be thankful for. Some, yes, less than others. But 2010, for me, was the best yet. I spoke at a dozen events and met hundreds of good people. I took my brother, whoís blind and loves to ěwatchî the Tigers play football, to a Clemson game.
My husband and I spent time with family and friends from California to Carolina, watched a lot of sunsets, listened to a lot of music, shared a lot of laughs and ate much too much good food. In March, we danced at my daughterís wedding. And in August, on what wouldíve been my motherís 85th birthday, my youngest and his wife gave birth to our first grandchild.
I smiled turning the pages, January to December, recalling all those joys and more. Then I looked at the new calendar, 365 empty squares of possibilities.
I donít know what this year will hold. I know itís there, right in front of me, but I canít see it ó not until it finds me. I can only keep looking with eyes and arms and heart wide open. And pray that the snakes donít bite.
To you and yours, from me and mine, hereís wishing for the best year yet.

Contact Sharon Randall at www.sharonrandall.com.

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