The rosary bracelet Maria made for me from Job’s Tears

Today was rough. And hot. And sticky. As I combed through my things in the cleanup I found a rosary bracelet that a coworker gave me years ago. She’s a lovely faith filled mother and grandmother who immigrated here years ago, and like many immigrants she works in service to others. She cleans homes for families and babysits children and always has a smile. She’s the most giving person of anyone I know with less means than most. Every Friday she brings me a banana and usually writes a special message to me like, “God Bless You” or “Have a beautiful day!” It’s a great conversation piece so I leave it on my desk and as people pass through they ask about it. I tell them about Maria and her kind and generous spirit, and usually another friend comes in to play ball around lunch time and takes the banana. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. It’s been six months now since she’s been able to work with us due to COVID-19 so that’s 24 bananas that I’ve missed, and I miss her every time.

She gave me this bracelet years ago and told me of the Cajun legend of the Job’s Tears rosaries. I am born and raised in south Louisiana but had never heard the story until my immigrant friend explained it. When the Cajun were sent away from Nova Scotia and settled in south Louisiana, they had very little. They’d been persecuted and were starting a new life in a new place with what they could carry on their backs. Someone discovered this plant native to the area with hard seeds in the shape of a tear drop and a natural hole through the center that were perfect for stringing rosaries. Good cajun mamas could tell if their children were saying their prayers with the beads because they became glossy over time as fingers traced over them repeatedly.

Job was a man greatly tested and tried who had remarkable unwavering faith. I’ve read somewhere that as his tears fell to the ground, there sprung the plant so that his tears would not be wasted. Maria grows this plant in her yard and uses them to make humble bracelets, more of which she probably gives away to people like me than actually sells. She’s always said that she receives a blessing when she gives to others so that’s why I let her do it so often. She is blessed in so many ways and has been tested as well. She’s been one of the hardest hit and tested in this storm.

Hurricane Laura tore through our area just three weeks ago. Maria’s garden where she grows the beads along with so many beautiful native plants is where she toils and labors when she’s not on the job with us. She lost her home. It’s no longer standing. She texted me not long after the storm to check on me and when I asked about her she first said she was safe and then said what she’d lost. She praises God in all ways always.

As I washed the scum of the day off of me tonight in water that isn’t drinkable, I saw my bracelet and thought again of her. I’d been angry earlier. My phone now rings almost hourly with new scams from people pretending to be contractors that must be preying on people in our zip code. I politely ran a guy out of my yard today for lying to me under the guise that he’d been sent to help me. I swear to you, I. Was. Tested. It took me til this evening but the bracelet reminded me. There ARE good people. Maria is the perfect example. So is the guy riding through my neighborhood in a blue pickup wearing a chef’s coat that asked me if my son or I were hungry because he had some leftover meals to handout so that they didn’t go to waste. THOSE are good people. I start back at my job tomorrow, and I’ll do my best to pray for the ones who prey upon the vulnerable. I’ll also do my best to focus on the quiet humble helpers like Maria who’ve lost everything but still give.

Maria’s home
Maria’s garden