OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA few months ago, a forwarded e-mail came my way. When praying the rosary, it advised, picture Jesus and Mary standing watching you. That way, you won't dare let your mind wander and you won't disappoint them so much.  Picking up my rosary the next day, I felt defeated before even starting. The discipline of the rosary was hard enough, now I had Jesus and Mary glaring at me the whole time. Or so it seemed.

A few decades in, it bothered me so much that I stopped and put down my rosary to talk it over with God. One thing led to another and the next thing I knew, my body was driving down the road  but my mind was sitting at my kitchen table, having a cup of tea with Mary, and saying the rosary.

For the Our Father's, Jesus and Mary knelt on either side of me and we prayed together. For the Glory Be, Mary prayed with me as we looked at Jesus standing before us. I felt a sense of wonder. Mary in my house, at my table, drinking tea from my cups, listening earnestly with Jesus to my prayers. Together, we meditated on the mysteries, and I watched the life of Jesus unfold with new insight. I noticed the difficulties of Mary's own life, the humanity of Jesus, the down to earthness of His trials. Glory infused into the every day.

After that, I sometimes did the rosary the way I'd always done it, and sometimes I returned to tea with Mary, but there was a breath of new life in the prayers. A little while later, I hit upon one of those days where answers are not easy to come by. My heart angry and frustrated, I began the rosary, not out of sense of hope, but because it was on the list of things to do.

Unbidden, the picture of Mary at my kitchen table came back to me. Something shifted and with every Hail Mary, I poured out my heart. To another woman. To a mother. To my mother. Anger, that foolish front man for my sorrow, took his leave. Tears washed my face freely while my troubles emptied themselves into the words of time honored prayers.

I still manage decades with 18 Hail Mary's, determined to come up with one I can actually pray without forgetting where I am. But in the journey to learn how to pray, I feel like I've found a place to go back to. Maybe it is strange, but while I've known in my head that God sent His son to be born in a manger, considering the image of Mary and Jesus, willing to kneel on my kitchen floor with me in the midst of breakfast's crumbs and dog hair, has pulled my heart wide open.

Copyright 2014 Michelle Dawn Jones