mad in pursuit notebook


St. Thérèse Beads, Part 2: Patience


I ripped apart my first attempt as unwearable and made three more versions. I'm not setting out to make religious jewelry (hence the lack of medals and crosses), but wearable reminders to be good do seem universal and beneficial.

The top bracelet is made from old African sandcast beads, wooden beads and a vintage button. It is heavy, though Pat D. suggested that when it comes to overpowering your demons, maybe heavy beads are needed.

The second bracelet is my remake of the first attempt, on lighter cord, with a standard bracelet closure. Shorter, lighter and more refined than my first version, it is still heavy. The beads are Venetian glass beads traded in Africa in the 19th century.

The third bracelet is also made from African trade beads. The smaller beads are much more wearable. The red Czech glass briolette could symbolize many things -- Precious Blood or (see below) drop of wine.

I like old beads because of the many hands they've passed through to get to mine.

Instructions for making the basic moveable bead design can be found at The Little Ways.

Instructions for Use

This design was created by St. Thérèse of Lisieux, aka Little Flower. The idea is that you use the beads as counters, such that when you move them, they stay in place. You are supposed to use them to count your sacrifices and acts of love. I need them more to make myself aware of impatience and loss of cool.

I'm thinking... You have 10 beads... So as you go along each day, move a bead each time you decide someone in your life is an asshole who deserves your sharp tongue (in writing or out loud). Well, it really could be anyone who doesn't get you, anyone who's not picking up what you're laying down, anyone who doesn't think you are brilliant. If you get to 10, break out the sacramental wine because you're having a bad day. Does that work?

I guess I'd like to move the bead whether I have let my tongue lash or I have transformed the temptation into an act of Gandhi-esque peace-making, whether I have sunk into an obsessional funk or let the annoyance float by. It isn't always clear when I might make a good recovery. But I clearly know the moment of emotional disturbance when "that asshole" appears, especially when that asshole is me.

UPDATE: Okay, I decided that at the end of the day I will say/read the St. Francis prayer for each bead I have moved:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

It's a good "memo to self," I think.

Aug 6, 2012 (update Aug 7, 2012)