Monday, March 19, 2007

Rosary Woes

I'll admit it: I'm intrigued by the concept of the day spa. There is a part of me (a very very very small part) that has entertained the thought of spending a day in a bathrobe and having avocado or cucumber or tomato slices (whatever) put over my eyes to reduce the puffiness and then having a hot stone massage, a kelp--mayonnaise-sand body wrap, all while sipping trendy power drinks like guava broccoli twists.

I offer this because I do have a hard time relaxing. I'm not a big one for lounging around, so the idea of a day where to relax I have to show up for a bunch of appoints that will make me relax is seductive.

I face a similar dilemma in my own prayer/spiritual life. I hate to sit still. I pray best when I'm moving, when I'm able to have a LONG conversation with God as I take a walk. Insofar as I live in the Bronx and I find it distracting to talk to God while dodging traffic and side-stepping piles of dog doo, I tend to pray indoors.

Helpful over the years has been the habit of using the rosary to help me to remain quieted. Whenever my mind begins to wander or I grow listless, I knock out a quick decade and I find myself re-focused. I suspect it has got a lot to do with the fact that it involves some physical movement - the beads being counted off - as well as a set number of prayers - 10 HM's and a quick OF.

So imagine my dismay when I broke my rosary today! I really don't know how I managed to do this. I power walk, but I never thought that I power prayed the rosary. I think I can jerry-rig the little wires that split, but I think it's about time to go and invest in a new one. This inexpensive set has lasted me about seven years...I recall having it in Ireland (1999) and I am pretty sure that I had it even before then.

So after I read for a bit, I think I'll walk over to a local religious goods store in order to buy a set. I'm sort of nervous - have you seen the variety that is out there? There are glass, wood, metal, plastic types. Some are in strange shapes - I've seen shamrock, football, and baseball rosaries. Some are blessed by the pope, others have been pressed to the relics of saints I've never heard of.

So indulging my private devotion arouses tremendous anxiety. It's like buying a new car or getting a new pair of glasses. What will the neighbors think? Were someone to see them, would I appear trendy? Pious? Is wood the new pewter? Is black in or out this rosary season?

What about weight requirements? I often keep them in my pocket, so I don't want to lug around a hefty set of beads. But I want to know that they are there, so I don't want a mini-set, either. But then what about the texture of the beads - round, oval, etched with Celtic designs, flat? Scented or unscented?

Sadly, I suspect that I'll have to pray before going out to buy the beads with which I pray. It's really a vicious circle, a never-ending struggle between cosmic forces vying for my soul. One would think I'd need to enter into a long-term discernment, weighing the attractions and repulsions, analyzing where my heart is drawn and where it is turned away, noting how my affect is moved by each option before me.

When I bought my car, my dad came along with me. But he's a staunch Lutheran and doesn't seem to care much for rosaries - as I recall, he thought Rosary was a spice used to flavor pork roasts. I'd ask Grandma Hagan - she's quite the connoiseur and has good taste - but she's in Cleveland.

I think I'll just bring in my broken pair and see if I can't find the same model. Why mess with a good thing?
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