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Sharon Randall: Looking love in the face

Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder. But if you could see the people I love ó all the beauty I see in them ó youíd have to agree. They really are quite something to behold.
My first child, after 10 months of pregnancy and 22 hours of labor, came into the world looking like Rocky Balboa after 19 rounds with Apollo Creed.
His head was lopsided. One eye was swollen shut. Red marks creased his cheeks.
I kept expecting him to shout, ěYo, Mama, we did it!î
A nurse said not to worry, heíd be fine. Then she added, ěand none of the other babies in the nursery will mess with him.î
For the record, I did not look so good myself. But I took one look at his little battered face and knew beyond a doubt that he was by far the most beautiful thing God and I had ever seen.
Thirty-some years later, I still think that about him. Even if he grows a scraggly beard and pulls a ratty beanie over his head.
Moreover, I felt, and still feel, that exact same way about his sister and his brother.
And the people they married.
My 8-month-old grandson.
My husband and his two boys.
My sister and her children and her childrenís children.
Old friends who look nothing like they did when we first met.
The list goes on and on.
I see them at their worst: My husband asleep and drooling in his recliner; my sister looking like a cyclops doing her makeup with one eye finished; my boys dripping sweat, hell-bent on beating each other at basketball; my brother eating a burger with mustard dribbling down his chin because something I said made him laugh.
I see them all just as they are, and always, I see beauty.
How can that be?
What are the odds of being the one person on the planet who loves only beautiful people?
I know other people probably think their loved ones are beautiful, too. And they could be right, more or less.
But the ělessî is enough to make you wonder what they are thinking.
Have you looked at other peopleís loved ones lately?
I once knew a woman who was attracted to several men, all of whom claimed to love her.
After a car accident left her badly disfigured, only one of the men visited her in the hospital. When he saw her, he wept. Then he proposed and she said yes.
ěI had no teeth!î she said, laughing. ěI knew it was love!î
My brother and his wife were both blind all their lives. They never saw each otherís faces, but liked to say they fell in love at first sight.
In 10 years of marriage, they were seldom more than armís reach apart. He lost her five years ago to cancer, and misses her every day. But in his eyes, she will forever be a beauty.
I had been a widow two years, had just started dating again, when the man who was then my editor (and is now my husband) gave me some dating advice.
ěYou donít see yourself the way others see you,î he said. ěYou are beautiful and funny and smart. Donít settle for just anybody. You should be picky.î
Then he took a big breath and added that I should pick him.
Did I mention he is smart? A little nearsighted, maybe, but definitely above-average smart.
The world sets a high bar for beauty, so high that most of us, no matter how we try, will never measure up ó until we learn to see ourselves and those around us through the eyes of love.
Love looks without blinking at age and infirmity, at gray hair and wrinkles, at bandages and biopsies and broken hearts, and somehow sees only beauty.
Love isnít blind.
Itís picky.

Contact Sharon Randall at www.sharonrandall.com.

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