Reciting the Hail Mary in Under 10 Seconds

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Susan Dromey Heeter photo

SDH's personal prayer kneeler


When I noticed the kneeler at the yard sale, I saw that it was brown with a plastic pleather cushion. 

Today I muse joyfully that I purchased that kneeler and celebrate the transformation of brown to periwinkle blue, on pleather to polka dots, on the transformative brilliance of prayer.

I am a fan of prayer.  And while I grew up with memorized prayer  (I can still say the Hail Mary in less than ten seconds) I am not a fan of prayer as brown, as pleather, as rote.  In my world, prayer is vibrant, colorful, transformative.  It is why I took that brown kneeler, painted it my favorite periwinkle blue and replaced the cushion with yellow and blue polka dotted fabric.

Susan Dromey Heeter, Joyful Musings

I like to pray.  I like to ask and thank and think and talk.  Prayer allows me to invite something larger into my life, my mind, my world.  Sometimes it’s God, sometimes it’s my homegirl Mary, sometimes it’s just the waves, the sky, the stunning trees of a New England autumn.   I pray out loud when I get into my car every day. I pray when I walk into a store.  I pray before I teach a class. 

I like to stop and pause.  Prayer gives me a chance to do that. And I’m grateful that I no longer question whether I’m doing it “right” or if I’m praying the “correct way.” For me, that kind of thinking has gone the way of smoking on planes, mimeographs, and girdles. Girdles.  That word makes me laugh and reminds me of my dear mother who wore one and who also was a deep fan of prayer. Girdle prayer. Perhaps that’s a thing.

Alas, I digress.  The writer Anne Lamott has three essential prayers, “Help. Thanks. Wow.”  I love these and use these often.  As I write this, I happen to be on the south shore of Massachusetts where the waves are crashing, the winds blow, gulls fly.  Wow.  That is my prayer for this moment.  Wow. I cannot imagine how those birds remain airborne but somehow, wow, they do.

And prayer allows me to remain airborne.  I pray before I go grocery shopping and a few months ago asked that I run into someone who would make me laugh. My prayer was answered when I ran into my friend in the dairy aisle. She told me a story of how she’d inadvertently received a free coffee from Dunkin Donuts simply by being unaware she’d received the coffee already.

She told the server she’d not received her order, he looked confused and provided her another. She then looked down and realized she’d had a memory lapse and saw that indeed she already had the coffee. When I asked her what happened next, she remarked, “Well, I just hid the coffee and then took the next one. I figured I’d just keep up the story.”

I have never laughed so hard next to yogurt in my life.  THAT is a prayer answered tenfold.

It’s glorious to pray, to laugh, to know that I can pray 24/7 with or without my fabulous kneeler. 

And today, dear joyful musers, I pray for all of you that you, too, may glory in the transformative power of prayer however it works for you.

And if you need any help transforming a brown kneeler with a pleather cushion, your prayers have already been answered.

Susan Dromey Heeter is a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white. Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards.

The opinions expressed are those of the writer. takes no position on politics, but welcomes diverse opinions.

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