I've always been a fan of blue.
So when my mom asked me what I wanted my rosary to look like before my First Communion, I knew it would be blue. The months prior had been filled with incessant begging for a beautiful rosary of my own. There had been many times that I watched, with eyes like saucers, as my mom created breathtaking, handmade rosaries for her business, Queen of Peace Rosaries. I marveled at the different centerpieces and crucifixes, each one providing a distinct depiction of Jesus and Mary. Opening her workstation, I poured over her innumerable collection of beads with her, and decided on Blue Lace Agate. It was a soft blue, swirling with lighter shades; it reminded me of the Blessed Mother. She asked if I would like the floral lamp-work Our Father beads, and I agreed without a second thought. One day after school, my rosary was finally finished. It was more beautiful than I could have imagined.
On the day of my First Communion, I carried it with me down the aisle, full of nerves. When I finally received Jesus, I returned to my pew, and I promised to try to love Him with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength, and with all my mind. That promise imprinted itself on my heart, and year after year, my childlike promise took on new meaning. It unraveled each day, revealing new challenges and circumstances, of what it meant to truly love God. As I began to prepare for Confirmation, I returned from school one day to see a new addition to my rosary--small rose spacers throughout my rosary.
It was during this time that St. Thérèse, or "The Little Flower", began to show up quite a bit for me. She wasn't my Confirmation saint, but she managed to weasel her way into my life. I am grateful for it, as she was able to explain holiness in a new way for me. While reading spiritual biographies of saints, holiness began to feel entirely impossible. It was Thérèse's "Little Way" that made the most sense to me; I could love God in even the smallest of actions with my heart full of love. This new addition to my rosary, along with the lamp-work beads, reminded me of the "Little Way" and the "Little Flower" as I continued to pray and strive for holiness.
During high school, my dad took my rosary to Italy where he had a private audience with the Pope. John Paul II blessed my rosary. I watched him over the next few years as he declined and suffered. I remember his death and funeral so vividly, and the sadness I felt about it all. Then in 2014, he was canonized, and my precious rosary became a relic of one of my favorite saints. Through the years, I began to know and love St. John Paul the Great, and I admired his strength in the face of adversity. All of that admiration blossomed as the years went on, and I prayed to one day be as courageous and joyful as he was.
When my mother died in 2016, it felt as though my world shifted. I turned to God with a sorrowful heart, and I picked up my rosary once more. The color blue, my childlike prayer, Thérèse's "Little Way", the strength of John Paul II, and my rosary--all these precious, important moments seemed to converge upon some beads and wire, taking on an entirely new meaning. My rosary has never broken, and it has always been close by, even when I wasn't faithful to praying it. My mom gifted me more than a beautiful rosary, she gave me a faith I could rely on, unbreakable and unending, just like the rosary she gave me all those years before. The beauty of my rosary began to reflect so clearly the beauty of God to me. It's so interesting how the smallest decision, like my preference for blue at age 8, has intertwined with so much beauty and grace as I have gotten older. Something that seems so insignificant has become essential. Isn't it funny how God works?