Wednesday, March 2, 2011
In the Palm of my Hand
A few years ago a friend of mine went to Fatima. When he returned, he gave me a wooden rosary that he had purchased there. With its soft wooden beads and slightly raised corpus that felt just sharp enough at the edges to remind me of His pain, it quickly became my favorite "sleeping rosary" and I put all of my other rosaries into my dresser drawer and kept this one out on top so that I could easily pick it up as I would drag my weary body to bed each evening. As I would drift off to sleep, I would finger the beads and feel comforted knowing that the Blessed Mother was with me, holding my hand, as I reflected on her Son's life and how I had tried to emulate Him in the day now past.
You could say that my parents had a rosary collecting hobby and when their bodies no longer graced the soil of this earth, my eight siblings and I inherited more rosaries to share between us than anyone could ever possibly use in a lifetime. So the fact that this particular rosary became my favorite bedtime companion is saying quite a lot.
Over time, the rosary began to break. I'd wake in the morning disheartened to find the wire broken between beads, but would get out my needle-nosed pliers and repair it. And repair it. And repair it. Finally, the day came when this wild sleeper wreaked the last bit of havoc upon my sacred rosary and I had to finally admit that it was beyond any further repair. The beads are all now gathered in a dish on top of my dresser, and I am reduced to sleeping with the crucifix firmly planted in the palm of my hand throughout the night.
Last night I couldn't find the crucifix on my dresser. I checked under the pillows and down in the bottom of the sheets thinking I had forgotten to take it with me when I got out of bed in the morning. No luck, I couldn't find it. So, I went to bed without it, and being quite exhausted, I easily fell asleep without it.
Our family has been suffering a bit of stress lately over a son who is struggling in school. We've been giving it our all with doctor appointments, medication adjustments, tutoring from the world's most fabulous nun and retired teacher, help from siblings, frequent conferences with the teacher, reminders, coaxing, yelling, withholding privileges, etc. You know a mother worries and my mind is easily carried away into thoughts of quitting my job so that I can home-school him, or at least reducing my hours so that I will be there when he arrives home at the end of the school day. And, I hate to admit it, but I even let my mind go to the thought that he might benefit from being held back a year in school.
With these worries heavy on my heart and mind, I woke early this morning with tears running hot down my face. My crying disturbed my husband who asked me what was on my mind. I responded, "It all seems so hopeless." And he reached over and placed my crucifix in the palm of my hand and asked, "Do you want this?" Paul had been sleeping with my crucifix! He must have found it on his side of the bed in the morning and put it on his dresser instead of on mine! And his timing for returning it was perfect!
With my crucifix held firmly in the palm of my hand, I felt a return of the hope I was bemoaning did not exist. If Jesus could suffer that tortuous pain on the cross and rise beyond it, then I knew that my family, too, would rise beyond our current worries, for nothing is hopeless with the presence of the risen Christ in our hearts! And now, I think it's time I help Paul find a "sleeping rosary" of his own!