Start with Spam, End with a Rosary
They gave me gifts.
It started with crowned Spam, in a lovely box that smelled like soap. (Yes, Mr. Airport Searcher, there IS a story behind that.) Other things followed. Stone, paper, ceramic, wax.
Then, on the final day, one of our team members gave me his rosary. When he pulled it out of his pocket and moved it towards me, I understood immediately what was happening. Before he could get a word out, I burst into tears. This rosary, it was made by his own hands. It was, as he told me later, the most important thing he had that he could give me.
What do you do with jade and chocolate stone beads, a silver cross on a sturdy brown string? What do you do with a line of prayers that have been someone else's? (He told me what each bead had meant to him. There were people, and the Shema, and other things I didn't hear because I was just looking, looking at this thing he'd put into my hands.)
The rosary now sits on my white wooden window sill. I told him yesterday I think it is (was) how he sees, or maybe touches, God. Bead by bead by bead, hoping along the way.
There are days when I think I see and touch God too. And days when I feel the world is nothing, watched by No One.
But now I have a rosary touched by prayers, through which I can hope along the way. It is waiting for new people and maybe a Psalm. It is waiting for me.
Me and My Friend and His Rosary photo, by L.L. Barkat.