When I was about eight years old, my mother and I took a vacation trip to Chihuahua, Mexico. We went to the market, churches, museums, and lovely neighborhoods. But my strongest memory of that trip was when (just on an impulse, I think) we ducked into a religious goods store. Mama told me to pick out ANYTHING I WANTED! My eight-year old eyes settled on a rather baroque (not to say gaudy!) rosary, whose beads were iridescent and multicolored like soap bubbles, with ornate filigreed connectors between the mysteries. I loved that rosary, for not very noble reasons, but when I left home I left it behind with my other childhood things.
Clearing out my mother’s personal items after her death, I found and tucked it away where it stayed for another fifteen years, a childhood memento. When I got it out again, the luster of the beads was dimmed, and the ornate connectors were tarnished. But having “rediscovered” the Rosary as a help to meditative prayer, and having broken or lost my other rosaries, I started using that one. Now the luster of the soap-bubble beads has been restored, and the connectors are shiny again.
Every time I use it, I think about how we can rediscover old forms of prayer, about how all prayer gets “shinier” as we practice it, and I reconnect with my generous mother and with my eight-year old self that could be led to God by the beauty of soap bubbles.