Does This Work? by Jude Prashaw

This morning I put on a gown and gloves and walked into her room in pediatrics. She is 17, two hours away from home and all alone. Now and then she winced in pain, not quite recovered from a recent surgery. “I don’t know what to make”, she said, as I handed her a lump of clay.  “Anything you want,” I told her. She pressed and molded the clay and soon a small figure with long hair appeared, soft and delicate and faceless. “It’s lovely,” I said. “I will put your figure into my boat that is in the lobby,” I told her; she will be a passenger in Hope Floats. I gathered my tools, placed the clay back in my bag and said, “I hope I don’t see you again, at least not here in the hospital.” “Me too,” she said and thanked me for coming.  


When I returned to the lobby I saw a gentleman standing in front of my table in the lobby; the table display that informs people to write a note of concern and place it in a boat of water, that ensures them I will take their notes and incorporate them into my boat and into the waves that will support the boat.  


 "Does this work?” he asked.


"Of course it works," I said.  "Your hopes and wishes will join others and all will become part of the boat that is called Hope Floats.


"I wrote a note,” he said. “This is a great idea. I think you should get Channel 7 here to see your boat. I think you should gather people round and then float the boat on the river; that boat will take all of our notes right up to God.  You could do this other places, it is a great business idea," he said. “I’m a businessman, I know.”


I plucked a note out of the boat of water and showed him how I place the note onto the bigger boat and then cover the note with more clay. "You chose my note," he said, "now that's amazing.  I may call channel 7 myself!"


I continue to be touched by the notes people place in the water.


Help my son get better.

Hope my mother’s health improves.

Hope all goes well for my friend.

For my dear friend, comfort her and give her courage

You are in our hearts and prayers and hoping you will have many happy days.

Make Momma well.

Need a job, thank you

For deep,healing energy to my friend.


Sometimes, when we can no longer carry our burdens, we need to let them go. Visitors and staff slip their burdens - these tiny rafts of hope - into the water; the water carries their burdens, helps their hope to float.

Jude Prashaw, a Journey in Clay