Written by Jeanne Kojis, Ripple Impact NW
In the late 1980’s I got word that a friend had AIDS. Death was then the most likely outcome of that diagnosis. Joey had been a close high school friend in a town we had both left.
He had gone on to California, where he played small parts in movies, and taught third grade -combining an empathic, smart professor vibe with someone who loved an audience – even if they were ten years old. I lived here. We had not been in touch for many years.
My husband had a chiropractic seminar close to where Joey lived, and I decided to go with him to the Hollywood Hills to see my friend. Like many good friends, we picked up where we had left off years before. Joey passed away shortly after that.
Then one night, I had a dream.
In the dream, I could only see colors – layered, overlapping, simultaneously chaotic and intentional. I took a breath, and suddenly was pulled back from the colors to take in a total picture. Now, instead of being nose-to-nose with the colors (which had not seemed that close when I was in it!) I was zoomed back. Seeing a painting, of Monet’s waterlilies. One that I had seen on a trip to Chicago Art Institute with Joey.
My friend’s voice said, “Make all the brushstrokes count.”
I believe we are all creating our own masterpieces – visual, dance, music – pick your metaphor. And, as social being, we contribute to realizing collective dreams. Nonprofits are a way to come together with others and build something for a community. Nonprofits tend to the niches… where commerce or the popular vote might not reach. Whether you are on a board of directors outlining a master plan or putting jars of peanut butter in backpacks for local school children to take home, it all does make a difference.
Thank you for sharing the beautiful story, Jeanne. Let’s learn a bit about Jeanne’s family:
John, a chiropractor, who spent time this weekend putting together a playlist of mostly overlooked Beach Boys songs for his chiropractic office.
Daughter, Marie, mother to Bethany (17!), who is refurbishing a small house with a big yard in the Vancouver Heights area.
Daughter, Emily, who is loving being a mom to Robin (1), and Vera (6.5). She’s married to Caleb.
Daughter, Holly teaches high school math near Seattle. She’s married to Hagen who teaches and plays golf for a living.