I thread the glass beads between my tired fingers in my left hand. My right hand holds the pen to paper.
I scratch out prayers in the quiet morning over coffee.
God and I meet best in the early hours, my mind needing awakening and my bones still heavy from sleep. I suppose He’d meet me anytime, but I’m most sincere in the morning.
I’ve never done well with prayer. It’s always been a hurdle to jump, my brick wall in the marathon of faith. Putting me in a group of people who speak whispered prayers makes me uneasy, and I clam up tight and choose to be quiet.
If I speak my prayers, my language changes. I don’t sound like me, I feel weird in my skin.
So, I take to paper. Journal upon journal upon journal…lines filled with etched-in ink, aching cries, soaring gratitude, questions and more questions. It’s a history of my hemming-in, Him drawing near, yet letting me run. The journals remind me of His own pen and ink, writing out the grand stories of life and lives.
The glass beads that sit delicately in my hand…those are new. I got it after my return from Bolivia. It’s a small rosary, small orbs of rich purple, Christ crucified, pendants of His mother and St. Ann. I don’t know the Hail Mary, or the words of the Mysteries, but I pray Our Father at the cross and count out prayers. The beads help me remember, keep me from daydreaming, focus in on need.
Each bead makes its way around to the space between my index finger and thumb. I spin it slowly, words pouring out from the pen over and over. It’s a private liturgy here on the kitchen counter.
Needs of others, needs for me, moments of thanks. Lines on the page fill up with my black handwriting. Before I know it, three pages are filled, and I arrive at the last bead.
I think of Maria. I promised her I’d work on my Spanish. I had a small prayer for her translated into her language, and I work to memorize it as I spin the bead slowly. I think of her face, her kind eyes and wide smile. My heart aches, and tears breach the dam of my eyelids. I clench the rosary tight in my fist. God, in His grace, offers peace and the tears stop.
I repeat the Lord’s Prayer at the end, say my Amen, and drink the last sip of my now-cold coffee. Binding up the black journal, I rest the beads on the cover.
Until tomorrow morning, when the coffee is fresh again.
What about you? How do you pray?