Prayer Beads

I become obsessed with projects. Not to the point of losing the farm obsessed, but just that the idea will sit and simmer, sometimes boil, on a backburner of my brain until I finally do it. Then, it’s gone, and I’m left with a calm contentment.

My name was one of those things. Wanted to change it for as long as I could remember. Informally changed my first name at age 21, then at age 25 I adopted a new last name and legally changed my name. Ahhhh. That’s the ticket.

One of my smaller project obsessions is prayer beads. I’ve gone so far as to take a red cord and sew on 16 assorted beads, rocks and shells (with holes through them), buttons and pendants. Each with a particular meaning. I meant to assign to each “bead” one of the prayers I’ve memorized or meant to memorize, but that never happened. It didn’t feel organic. And the prayer beads look so random and chaotic. I don’t feel it.

But I think about this project, and how I shall tend to it, all the time, as though it were a small child I’d left out in the yard and need to go check on.

Why do I want this? I say prayers all day. I just use pauses in the daily insanity to say some prayer or other in my head, or something will remind me. I don’t see how having a physical reminder or representation would make me more prayerful.

But somehow the idea of having something physical in my hands to hold onto is appealing, like a crutch, like a precious photograph, like a hand to squeeze.

Maybe it’s just that being raised Catholic and then choosing to walk away from that religion leaves a little rosary-shaped hole in my life that I keep trying to fill.

Maybe that’s what is unappealing to me about the one I’ve created; it isn’t official, it’s a wannabe.

Or maybe the thing I walked away from was the official externalization of interior spirituality, and I’m afraid that if I get too deep into these prayer beads I will become superstitious, overly attached, or just plain goofy about them.

In any case, it provides me with a fascinating, ongoing meditation with regards to my own internal mess.

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4 responses to “Prayer Beads

  1. Get as goofy as you like! :)

  2. How fitting that the first person I was a birth doula for and the first woman I hosted a blessing way for should be posting this. I was just thinkiing today of including in my pregnancy support group a time when each woman could put beads on a string and assign a birth affirmation/intention to each one and then use the finished product kind of like a rosary. Thank you for sharing some of your heart and mind and for being Elena.

    • We must still be connected! On different sides of the continent but still on the same page… Thanks for reading and for your sweet comments!

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