“Follow Your Heart”

A covey of quail skitters across the lawn, spooked by my arrival. Or maybe my lack of makeup. A dozen finches wait turns at the feeder, chattering like tourists in a buffet line. A breeze rustles the palm fronds and sunlight streams through silver clouds to shine like beacons on the desert.

I wish you could see it.

On a spring-like day in the dead of winter, I’m sitting on my patio feeling lucky. I’ll tell you why, after a bit of background.

I spent my first 20 years in the mountains of the Carolinas, one of the places God meant when he looked at his creation and said in effect, “Oh my.”

For the next three decades, I lived on the coast of California, another “oh my” kind of place, in a house near the beach with three headstrong children and their basketball coaching father.

Then the children grew up to be headstrong adults, and we lost the coach to cancer. So I spent some years alone in my “family museum,” with four bedrooms, five sets of dishes, a silent basketball court and a whole lot of great memories.

During those years, to my surprise, I discovered that “alone” can also be an “oh my” kind of place. Or so it was for me. I had family, friends, a job I liked and, as we say, my health. It was a good life, vastly different from the life I had loved for so long, but it was good nonetheless, with an abundance of blessings to keep me humbled and grateful and happy. I had no need, no plans to change it.

Then, as the old Elvin Bishop song says, I fooled around and fell in love. Dangerous, I know, but don’t even try to tell me you’ve never done it yourself.

Next thing I knew, in a blind leap of faith, I remarried and moved with my new husband to the last place on Earth I ever dreamed I’d call home: the desert outside Las Vegas.

Perhaps you’re wondering what sort of woman grows up in the Bible Belt, rears her children in Paradise, and ends up on the outskirts of Sin City?

That would be me, a woman who has tried, come hell or high water, to follow her heart wherever it may lead.

I blame my grandmother. Growing up, if I felt confused (as I did much of the time) she’d say, “Honey, follow your heart. It’s a good heart. Trust it.”

I had no idea what she meant. I’m not sure I do even now. But in Sunday school, I learned that the heart is a repository for love _ the love of God, the love of family and friends, the love of all that we hold dear _ and that it speaks to us with the voice of love, always in a whisper.

In time, I learned to listen for that whisper. It’s hard to hear it sometimes over other voices _ logic, anger, envy, jealousy, insecurity and such. They don’t whisper. They yell. But listen closely. You can spot it.

What it tells you might not be easy to do. In my case, it almost never is. But when you hear it, you’ll know it’s right. That’s the test. The right thing always and only comes from a place of love.

So why do I feel lucky? Here I am in an “oh my” kind of place on an “oh my” kind of day. I followed my heart from the mountains to the coast to the desert where _ with a good man who makes me laugh and slow down to watch sunsets _ I’m living a new chapter of my life.

I miss family and friends and mountains and beaches and seasons, especially fall. But I visit them often, if only in mind.

There is peace in knowing that today, for now, I’m where my heart led me to be. Who knows where it will lead me next?

Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow’s a dream. All we have is this one, sweet, lovely “here and now.” Why not enjoy it?

This morning I heard from a young woman asking advice on a life-changing decision.

“Follow your heart,” I told her. “It’s a good heart. Trust it.”

Here’s wishing her and you and all of us an “oh my” kind of life.
(Sharon Randall can be reached at P.O. Box 777394, Henderson NV 89077, or on her website: www.sharonrandall.com.)


  1. Mary Ellen Sullivan says

    I just enjoyed another of your delightful columns in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and wanted to tell you how much joy they bring.

  2. Nick Del Greco says

    Loved your column in today’s post_Gazette it really got me thinking thank you

  3. Cindy Simpson says

    This just appeared in my morning Post Gazette and I just loved it. I have always believed people and things placed in your heart were there for a reason and if you sit quietly and allow them to come through…it is as meant to be. Too often we don’t listen to our hearts…thank you for this great piece…beautifully written…much happiness and many more “Oh my” kind of days 🙂

  4. Sunny Wells says

    Thank you for this past Sunday’s beautiful column. You and I live parallel lives in several ways that I won’t go into now, but your columns touch my heart, and this one especially did, as I am away from my family and grandchildren for a few months down in SW Florida, a truly “oh, my” location if there ever was one. After reading the column yesterday, I FaceTimed all 9 grandchildren , and then went ahead and truly enjoyed the day with my husband. “Listening for the whisper” is something that I try to do every day, and I just wanted to tell you how you put into words what I have been trying to express! Also, I am delighted to discover this website, where, when I leave Florida for the summer, I will be able to read your columns even though my “home” newspaper does not carry it!

  5. Loretta Romp says

    I look forward every Sunday to reading the newspaper when I am in Florida, and go directly to the
    Perspective Section, where unfailingly, your column appears. No matter the subject, it speaks to the heart, in a way that I feel and understand, and wish that I could express. One day, I actually wrote you a “fan letter” before I knew you had a website, telling you that I love you, because I knew I would, if only I had a chance to know you in person. Instead, I will keep reading your words in the newspaper, and wish that they also appeared in one of ours in Ohio. It is a warm way to begin a
    Sunday morning.

  6. Sue McDermott says

    Thank you Sharon! This just popped up on FB as I was feeling sad & lonely missing my four grandchildren that had visited me in SW Florida. It’s cloudy & chilly so that started the day at home in a gloomy way. After I read your lovely oh my moment I looked closer at what’s outside. The birds are at the feeder, my kids and grand kids are safely home & well hugged by me and the sun is peeking through the clouds & my sweet sister arrives tomorrow to get out of the snow.
    So actually today, I’m just fine. Thank you!

  7. Follow your heart…sometimes easier said then done….why because we are afraid of what it will reveal. I am there right now, but reminded that without heart we are souless. So I am listening again following her message. Thanks for the ticklers that remind us what living in heart, love, is really about….hugs, Maria

  8. Sharon, I know I speak for so many when I thank you for reminding me that I have had so many “oh my” moments, most of which I didn’t recognize until after the fact. That’s one of your special gifts – you help us appreciate the precious gifts we already have, maybe we just missed them for a moment in the tangle of getting through the day. You are truly loved, Sharon.

  9. Sharon , this was beautiful! It was an”oh my” kind of story. You are so beautiful inside and out. Your family is so fortunate to have you and to know you. Your are an “oh my” kind of person and I am so glad that I discovered you many years ago and have read everything you have written. You have added so much to my life and I want to thank you for always sharing such sweet stories.

  10. Dear Sharon , my wife and I so loved your article on February 24th in the Post Gazette. We are to be blessed with our first grandchild in September and are so thrilled. Our daughter has been a true blessing to us and is the light of our lives. Now we can have a grandchild and do the things we did with our daughter for her or him. I am happiest for our daughter and son-in-law who tried for a long time before getting the wonderful news. Thank you for a wonderful article

  11. Yes ,Sharon you follow what your heart says ,you made it worth loving and living each chapter of life ,every day whatever you do ,think and when you write words ,all content goes directly into heart ,wish every body can listen that whisper .May your pure heart gets more and more love from family and friends !

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