The beads lay dormant in their storage bins.
It had been a long time, and something was drawing me
back to the beading table.
They are such pleasant company:
lapis, jasper, carnelian,
each exuding their warmth, light,
The beads invite solitude,
rest, creativity, healing.
Soon they are spread out upon every
eating surface in the house.
Carlo is patient and does not complain.
He sees a subtle joy welling in me
with each bead that slips onto the wire -
a slow transfusion of the hope
that the midlife passage
seems to have stolen.
We both notice.
It is time to light a candle.
Surrounded by the chaos of the beads, trays, clasp and tools,
the beads seem to converse with each other, and with me.
Stories, people, memories and prayers emerge.
A few years ago, Dan came into our shop and out of his pocket, pulled a soft cotton pouch. With that Irish twinkle in his eye, he asked would I please repair his rosary, one I had made especially for him. At his request, it had included a small, carved wooden amulet of the Magdalene. Worn out from daily use, the beads held his love and devotion. That seems like only yesterday,
and now our Dan is sadly slipping away from us, his spark veiled by the mystery of dementia. Today I make a few rosaries, the wooden beads evoking deep prayers and tenderness for him.
On the kitchen table,
the votive candle glows brightly
although it is mid-morning.
The goldfinches flit about the feeders
outside at the window.
Their bright yellow wings
and chevron tails delight the eyes.
Suddenly, a message comes in from a friend,
her spouse who has been in hospice
has begun his transition from this life.
I set my tools down
and stare at the candle flame.
It is quiet, peaceful here.
The next beads to string are the Botswana agates,
so smooth and heavy.
May his soul be at peace.
Now more prayers, stronger prayers are needed:
a friend's colleague and beloved teacher has gone missing in Kenya.
Something is not right with a friend's baby still in the womb.
A dear cat is seriously ill, a dear one's father has died.
The trees suffer greatly from our months of drought.
Neighbors and friends near and far suffer
and there are wars and tragic events everyday.
Is there ever enough time for prayer?
It feels that the moments we have
- already laden with prayers & grace -
must enlarge to hold even more.
Bracelets, malas, rosaries -
our lives are strung together,
the seen & unseen,
known & unknown,
than the heart can hold.
These beads, like seeds,
are a silent bridge
between the worlds.
They remind us that we are
each but one tiny seed
in the collective storehouse
of grace, prayer, hope.
The bracelets, rosaries,
prayer beads are done.
As our customers find them,
the energetic prayers and love
slip from my hands to theirs.
Amen, amen, the work is complete,
and the work continues.
The circle is unbroken.
A woman takes into her hands
the beautiful jasper.
It becomes even more beautiful
on her wrist.
The prayer is passed along.
Like children, like dreams,
like what was and what is...
I release them all with blessing:
"Bye bye sweet beads,
and bless those
who choose you."
- Mary Busby Dec '15