Monday, August 8, 2011

Symbolic Beads

Beads have been a product of symbolism for decades. They have been used as money and to bring wisdom and fortune to the person wearing them.
CBS Sunday Morning aired a segment about beads, but these weren’t just any beads, these were Beads of Courage. Images of children wearing multiple strands of beads around their necks filled the screen. Then the reporter announces that these children and their families were commemorating their journeys and telling their stories through beads…. These children are suffering from severe illnesses such as cancer. For every step along the way the child is given a bead to represent their journey. Each bead was received with pride and honor. Looking at a teen or child with strands and strands of beads draped over them was heart breaking. Each of their journeys was being told by the beads they wore with pride, hanging from their necks for everyone to see.
The children loved to show their beads to the camera. As a small girl held up a long strand of multiple looped yellow beads she told that each yellow bead was for a night that she had to stay away from home in the hospital. My heart melted and my eyes welled with tears. Having not gone through an experience like this, I couldn’t imagine the pain that these children and their families have been through. My heart went out to each and every one of them. Then, there sat a frail boy that struggled to simply smile. A very small strand of a few beads was placed on his neck. Next to him was his father draped in stands upon strands of beads, there were simple too many for the child to physically be able to hold up. Another child was grinning ear to ear as the anticipation grabbed a hold of him. After 15 feet of beads, he was waiting for the most desired bead of all, the “Purple Heart” this is the bead given when you are released to go home. The story of the courage beads touched my heart.

As I am writing this, I look down at my Reflection Beads bracelet. A mix of emotion overcomes me. I do not have beads to represent a life battle fought as the children with the courage beads do, but I do have a lot to be thankful for; a husband that loves me, two daughters that I adore, a father that is no longer with me but has taught me the value of family, a mother that has always been there for me and a grandmother that has shown me strength. This is My Story and I too wear it with pride.

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