So, there I was, holding up a bank this morning - ?
Actually, what I was holding up was a repository - of countless prayers, my mother's prayers, as I picked up her rosary this morning. Prayer beads have been used in many religions for centuries - the word being derived from the old English noun 'bede' meaning prayer, and while there is no power in the beads themselves, they can be a valuable tool in meditative prayer. It is what the beads absorbed from my mom's hands that gave them their value - the warmth of her love and simple faith as she hung onto those beads and poured her heart out. Holding onto the rosary was like holding onto a lifeline for mom - a rope of beads strung together in groups of ten that helped to keep her life in order - counting to ten can be not only a mom's powerful threat, but also her private salvation.
Her prayer beads were an instrument that she had learned to play very well. I can remember her taking out her rosary, closing her eyes, and softly beginning to pray as soon as she heard of someone in the family needing help. If you were present, you automatically added your voice, your prayer, your 'bede' to her sincere faith-filled ones.
She could be depended on to hang that rosary out on the clothesline for each wedding or special outdoors event; an outward sign and challenge to the weatherman to dare defy the work that she put into making sure that the beads were fully charged with fresh prayers. And although we inwardly smiled and joked about this, I can't remember a time that her challenge was met with anything more than a few sprinkles of rain - not all of the drops had gotten the memo!
Perhaps it is the same way with other mementos that our loved ones have worn or used countless times - we hold on, with respect, to favourite pieces of clothing or jewellery, dishes or cups, but what is special about a mother's instrument of prayer, whether it is a well-worn rosary, a set of knitting needles, or a daily journal, is that it has been a confidant, sharing her innermost struggles, hopes, fears, and a whole pile of her concentrated love. So, I will continue to pick up those beads as I pray for all who are in my heart;
Don't make me count to ten - because I will! That's not a threat - It's a promise!