Sharon Randall: A magnet for life

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 18, 2022

By Sharon Randall

Are you the kind of person who collects magnets with lots of pithy sayings and puts them on display in your kitchen?

I am. I’m not proud of it. I’m just saying I do that. Maybe you do, too. Or would, if you had a magnet that said something you wish you had said.

I love words. Especially words that make me smile and remind me of things I try to remember, but sometimes tend to forget.

One of my favorite magnets reads: “Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.”

What does that mean to you? For me, it means several things: Let bygones be bygones. Live in the here-and-now, not in the over-and-done. Learn from your mistakes so you don’t keep repeating them. Love who you are today as much as you loved being skinny and young.

Those are things I want to remember. Seeing that magnet helps me keep them in mind.

Here’s another one: “Dance as though no one is watching you; love as though you have never been hurt before; sing as though no one can hear you; and live as though heaven is on earth.”

I like that magnet a lot. It hangs in my kitchen, but I keep its words in my heart.

Here’s one with a message I first read on a condolence card from a friend soon after my first husband died: “Barn’s burnt down. Now I can see the moon.”

Losing the father of my three children, someone I thought I couldn’t live without, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. But there are gifts that come with loss to help ease the pain. For me, those gifts were priceless and healing. The kindness of strangers. The love of my children. A realization that life itself is a gift. And a burning desire to live well, truly alive, in honor of my husband’s memory. I smile at those gifts when I see that magnet, or stare up at the face in the moon.

There are two sayings on the wall of my kitchen for which I never need a reminder. The first one says, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” That’s easy. I just look in a mirror.

The other one isn’t a magnet. It’s a big red-lettered sign that says, “Eat.” I have no problem remembering to do that.

Then there’s this one, which is also not a magnet, but it sticks pretty well to the wall. It’s a neoprene cover for a beer can, a souvenir from a Paul Thorn concert. If you don’t know who Paul Thorn is, check him out. Then you can post a sign in your kitchen that says, “Play more Paul Thorn.” The Paul Thorn beer sleeve says, “Don’t let nobody rob you of your joy.”

Can I get an amen to that?

The best words on display in my home hang on the wall in the dining room. Years ago, when I remarried after seven years as a widow, I wanted to find something to represent our new life. I found it in an antique shop — a wood framed, hand-stitched embroidery of a Bible verse I learned as a child: “To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.” — Ecclesiates 3:1

My life — much like yours, I suspect — is a series of seasons, each with its own purpose. Some are dark as a moonless night. Others are dazzling as a day in May. But they are all meant to be lived with purpose and gratitude, knowing that in time, every season, dazzling or dark, will surely come to end.

If you made your own magnet, what would it say? Would you hang it in your kitchen or hide it under your bed?

I wish I could see it.

If I made my own magnet, it would say this: “Life is short. Live it well. Lose with grace. Love with abandon. Cry a little. Laugh a lot. Sleep like a baby. And wake up each day just to see what will happen next.”

I keep those words in my heart and take them out whenever I need them. But I would hang that magnet in the kitchen right next to the sign that says “Eat.”

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