Your mileage may vary but for our family, prayer tends to be a more private experience. We pray with the community in Mass or at Church events of course, but for the rest of the time we pray in our heads or quietly as a couple at home. When we were a younger family Kevin and I would insist on have a thanksgiving prayer before a meal, even at restaurants (we still do). This action, complete with the sign of the cross, caused more than one stare from other tables and some feeling of discomfort for us. The majority population of Utah does not use the sign of the cross in prayer so it marks us as outsiders the moment we make that motion. But we are Catholic and we were not going to hide it. Occasionally it brings a smile from a fellow Catholic, mostly just questioning eyebrows, but we do it anyway.
If the sign of the cross marked you as different, you can understand that a rosary was positively scary to the local population.
Sunday evening Kevin complained about an upset stomach, he had been mentioning it since Monday so we thought he had “a bug”. What was different now was a fever that was rising rapidly. My suggestion of going to the hospital was countered with offering to call a good friend who is a registered nurse. A telephone consultation with a few abdominal probes brought the response “Go to the ER, NOW!” Never one to ignore a girlfriend (his, not mine, long story, totally innocent) we were in the car and on our way.
A couple hours later it is one in the morning and I am alone in the waiting room outside surgery. You guessed it, appendicitis. A very well renowned gastroenterologist was on call and putting Kevin out for the count. The waiting room is actually a hall way in the hospital I use to work in. At one a.m. it is very quiet but also very public. The TV has a picture but no sound. A quick search reveals no remote. The buttons on the TV give no results. I find the only none chair (a small two-seater couch with metal arms) I pull out my rosary and curl up. Out in the quite public hallway.
There is a chapel on the same floor but on the other end of the hospital. It’s pretty but non-denominational and filled with literature for the local culture and not much else so I opted not to go pray there. I also didn’t want to be far from the OR when anyone came looking for me. It was probably my most private prayer in a most public place.
Thankfully surgery went well and Kevin was discharged by mid-morning and recuperating at home. Since it all occurred late at night we didn’t notify anyone till the next morning. Even without having family or friends it was okay. I could handle being by myself because I never am really alone. The Lord is always at my side.