Thursday, September 20, 2007

Painting the Rosary

My current project is not a very exciting one. I am staining the rails of the deck that comes off my kitchen. It is a job that needs to be done about every five years. With six sides to every spindle, working during the baby’s nap time, it typically takes me a few weeks to complete.

Putting on a new color is always very exciting. Even white-on-white can be a thrill, if the old white has gotten quite dingy. Brown-on-brown is quite dull. No one but me will ever notice the job has been done. However, once I get started, it is a job that I thoroughly enjoy.

People ask me why I don’t just spray-on or use a painting mitt. My answers are: (1) a brush always gives the best coverage on wood; (2) a brush offers more control; and (3) I enjoy using a brush. There is a fourth reason, as well. It brings back childhood memories.

When I was around ten years old, my father let me help him to build a deck. We bought the wood and a new router. He showed me how to route the edges of each slat to give it a sharper look. We designed the way the slats would go around the deck, and the way we wanted the tops to look. I believe we used cedar, but we went for a semi-transparent redwood stain. Every two years I would help him to stain the deck again.

The house was stained a brown cedar color – I would choose a similar shade in staining my own cedar shakes many years later. Dad explained why stain was better for wood than paint. The oils seep into the wood, preserving its moisture; paint sits on top of the wood and allows it to dry out.

Whether I am using stain or paint, the act of brushing either on offers me an opportunity for contemplation and prayer. I can use each thin slat of wood as a rosary bead, focusing on one intent per rail, until I come to a main rail, which I use as an Our Father bead.

I hope that all my family and friends felt blessed today, as you were each interceded for.

“Pray without ceasing.” I Thessalonians 5:17

Piero della Francesca (1420-92)
Adoration of the Holy Wood and the Meeting of Solomon and Queen of Sheba
c.1452; Fresco, San Francesco, Arezzo

1 comment:

Joanna said...

I love it! It is a very similar idea to my praying in color. I think it is a wonderful idea to try to make our everyday activities an act of worship and praise to our God.