Sharon Randall: Who are you in the mirror?

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 9, 2021

By Sharon Randall

Lately, I find myself staring at a face in the mirror and asking:

1. Who are you?

2. Why do you look like that?

3. What have you done with the woman I used to be?

Here are my usual answers:

1. I am the same person I’ve always been, just a bit older, and due to the pandemic, maybe a few pounds heavier.

2. I look this way because I have a white stripe on my head that makes me look like a skunk. At the start of the pandemic, I tried to go totally gray, but couldn’t abide the stripe. So I keep coloring. And the stripe keeps coming back.

3. I’ve done little or nothing for or with the woman I used to be, because basically, life as I once knew it stopped.

Yes, for what felt like forever, I stopped seeing most of my family and friends, stopped going to the market (we had groceries delivered) and just, more or less, stayed home like a prisoner under house arrest.

Did life seem to stop for you, too? I think it did for most of us. I want to believe that it’s coming back in full glory. But it’s hard to know, isn’t it? Information seems to change day to day.
So instead of relying on what I might hear, I rely on things I trust to be true and have learned to count on in all my years.

Never mind how many years.

For example: I put great trust in sunsets. I’d probably trust in sunrises, too, if I ever woke up in time to see one. But I’m a late-to-bed, late-to-rise kind of person. So sunsets are my thing.
My husband and I sit outside most evenings to watch the sun go down, the moon come up and the stars fill the sky.

I wish you could see it.

I hope you can. I hope you see it often, wherever you may be.

It’s easier, I think, to trust in the future when we realize that the sun seems to know things we might forget, and it keeps rising and setting, rain or shine, to celebrate life twice every day.
Also, I trust people. Real people, neighbors and friends. You should trust them, too. In the hardest of times, it’s a gift to see good people rise up — not because they have great wealth, but because they have great hearts — to help others in need.

Have you noticed lately what your friends and neighbors are doing? Look around you. It will open your eyes and your heart.

Most of all, I trust in a power that always holds, like the old song says, “the whole world in his hands.” As a child, my blind brother would quiet his fears by singing himself to sleep. That song was one of his favorites. It’s one of mine, too.

Finally, I’m learning to trust not in what I see in the mirror, but in what I feel in my soul.

I know I’m getting older. I don’t need a mirror to tell me. My knees won’t let me forget. I spend as much time as possible with my grandkids, laughing at their jokes, watching them turn cartwheels the way I did a lifetime ago, and telling them stories from “the old days.”

I would also spend time with people my age, but they’re all busy spending time with their grandkids. Or going to see doctors. Or looking for their glasses. Or trying to remember what they dropped on the floor and what else they ought to look for while they’re down there.

I know that’s how they spend their time because it’s how I spend mine, too. When I’m not making peanut butter cookies.

I think most of us are just hoping to survive this pandemic and pass on to our children and grandchildren a few important things we’ve learned, such as:

• Times get hard, but they get better. We help ourselves, but at our best, we help each other.

• Failure isn’t falling down. It’s falling down and failing to get back up and try again.

• Mirrors might tell us how old we look, but it’s what we see in the eyes of those we love that tells us how much we mean.

Maybe I’ll stop looking in the mirror. After I color my roots.

Sharon Randall is the author of “The World and Then Some.” She can be reached at P.O. Box 922, Carmel Valley CA 93924 or