A Simple Invitation by Jude Prashaw

A simple invitation:  “Please write a note of concern on a piece of paper, place the paper in the bowl of water; I will incorporate your notes into the clay boat that is called Hope Floats.

An overflowing response;  I often return from working in Pediatrics to see a bowl of notes floating in water.  

Love and concern for my husband.

Wake up safe and sound.

The strength to move on from the past.

Breathing well.

Pray Jesus will touch my children’s heart while I’m away.


For comfort and consolation.

Heal Steve’s heart.

For my sister to walk in health with me soon.

Help to control myself.

Peace and happiness.


Upon the pencil-scrawled notes I read pain, and concern, and fear and hope.  Sometimes, all we need is an invitation to share a burden:  hopefully, in the sharing, the burden is lifted.  


In Pediatrics today, I walked into the room of young woman and invited her to play with clay. “I’m not that creative,” she said.  An hour later, after focused attention on her creation, she finished a fabulous clay flower.  “I need a bucket,” she told her mom.  While mom ran out of the room to find a nurse, I grabbed the nearest waste basket;  she threw up her meager liquid breakfast.  “Thank you,” she said,  as I handed her a wipe.  “Oh, I thank you,” I told her.

“You are one, creative young woman with grace and style.” When I said, "I hope I don't see you again, " she smiled.


There is something special that happens while the patient and I play with the clay:  we share stories, we laugh, we let the clay move within our fingers, and we create dogs that look like pigs, owls that resemble penguins and yes, fabulous clay flowers.


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