Stories … they’re funny things. This A Deacon’s Musing feature will share vignettes of voices that are (often) an amalgamation of experiences, contexts and people. They will frequently be monologues, which will be speaking both directly to our United Church of Canada and generally to faith communities. As with all stories, this may not have actually happened, but all stories are true. And as story-tellers know, once you hear them, they are happening to you …
You have held me in the darkest of times. Those days aren’t usually easy and being here for you, as you worry me, knead me, pass your tight fingers across each bead has been a prayer for which I was made. There have been tears trauma born, those of grief and lament, and sometimes … just because.
Sometimes you have confided in your silent whispers or choking weeping that there seems to be no rhyme nor reason to the darkness in which you find yourself. Regardless of cause or effect, I have always been grateful for the affected change when you leave me waiting for the next visitor at the prayer centre in the back of the Old Stone Church.
I wouldn’t ever claim there was closure or curing, but there often is healing. A certain thread tightened, a weave a touch more taut, a joist somewhat more secure. Heads aren’t always held high, and there is rarely any sense of victory, but shallowed breath often draws deeper, and shoulders are frequently less rolled. As the doors open, revealing the stones of life’s markers that surround the church, I can hear you take that deep breath as you pass the threshold of this sacred place.
You weren’t always so certain that a string of beads could help with your spiritual hurts and physical challenges. When Rev. Meadow first created the prayer centre, often the response came from your head. I could tell that there was a disconnect between what your hearts and bodies needed, but … initially … your thinking, need for logic, couldn’t quite connect ‘why’ this might with healing.
Prayer Beads #01
That changed shortly after the cat died. It was amazing how that wee creature touched you all. Whether that was during times when the community gathered to celebrate or grieve, laugh or cry, your feline companion was as much a member of the congregation as any one of you. Rev. Meadow encouraged you to consider ways to grieve – some gathered in groups, other volunteered at the SPCA, and some, who needed to think and reflect, came to me.
Those first few grievers opened the space for others. Since then, here I sit. Through your worship times and quiet times, high holy days and those ordinary moments, I am honoured to be in this sacred place. And each time we meet, there is beauty in the midst of prayers that are often too difficult to speak, but the beads allow heart, mind, and body to hear one another as the soul knits itself into your unfolding changing lives.