Paper Boats and Folded Flowers

Origami is an art and a mystery to me. I enjoy watching a flat piece of paper turn into something quite different – a crane, a bird, a bat, or a Christmas tree. Or a rose and a boat, like the ones above.

You can’t tell by looking at them, but they share a common attribute: both require my participation after they are folded. The boat needs me to set it afloat – something I’ve done with dozens of boats in tubs, rivers, and ponds. When it gets waterlogged, I restore it by lifting it out of the water to dry. Origami boats, with a little help, have several voyages in them.

The rose is different because it’s not just a rose. A soft press of my fingers turns it into a cube; my gentle pull on the corners recreates the rose. It cannot be what it was created to be without help.

A beautiful human life seems to require the same: loving creation and another’s help for it to be what it was meant to be. Weighed down by the sea of reality, everyone needs a lift and a time for restoration. Stuck in one place, a gentle push or pull is necessary to shift into another one.

What a blessing, to be interdependent in this God-created world.

What a blessing, to have the honor of being the helping hand.

What Do You See?

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I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

2 thoughts on “Paper Boats and Folded Flowers”

  1. I remember the pic of the woman posted a year or two ago but forget who she is. Although some of the lyrics might be changed, I am also reminded of the Beattles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends” as I ponder this blog. We shape and are shaped–may I shape others in good ways and surround myself with those who do the same. That’s a prayer worth praying.

    1. Hi Bill,

      I believe she’s one of the saints – I couldn’t recall, either! I’ll have to ask Donna Eby. I love the “with a little help from my friends” connection. I hadn’t thought of it, and it’s perfect! Thanks, Bill! Peace

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