Post 86: The Rooming House Gallery – Connecting the Dots

Excerpts from The Rooming Gallery – Connecting the Do

“Just a minute,” Andres said. He ran into his studio and returned with a small hand-written saying painted onto a piece of jagged old wallboard. “Maybe this will help. I saw this yesterday in one of the school classrooms, snapped a picture, came home and painted it. I wasn’t sure why, but now, well, maybe it’s important.” He read it out loud, then handed it to Josh.

By Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement Address, 2005

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

Josh stood and walked around the kitchen as he read it over several times. The last time out loud. “Since when did you follow entrepreneurs and management gurus? I remember seeing the video of him saying this. I was at an office managers’ conference. It’s powerful. I think I realize it’s not about facing backwards. It’s about occasionally looking back to see how well things worked out, then moving forward in some type of faith in the unknown.” He plopped into his chair. “My problem is, how far do I trust my gut? Even harder, which way is my gut telling me to go? Insist we keep the house in our name? It’s a family tradition. Or let it go and become part of something much bigger than us?”

Andres stood behind him, placed his hand on Josh’s shoulder. “Sitting here, making notes, I was going in circles, too. I was trying to figure out what was best for you. Not me, not us. Mostly you. Then I remembered this and I realized our dots have connected pretty damn well in the past. Based on that, my choice is to turn the place over to the nonprofit. I think our dots, everyone’s dots, will connect in the future, maybe even better than in the past.” He squeezed Josh’s shoulder. “I know that’s a harder decision for you.” He lifted the saying from Josh and kissed him on the cheek. “Maybe because you have so much Polish blood in you. Can we eat? I’m starved.”

Josh remained silent, his mind not whirring in circles. Which surprised him. Their dots connected well in the past. Why wouldn’t they in the future? Still, it was frightening. “Basically, the issue is to include our living quarters with the nonprofit which provides more space and opportunity for the gallery or keep it carved out as our home and rehab the house as we can afford to? Is that the bottom line?”

“That’s it.” Andres thought for several minutes. “I could certainly live in chaos for a long time until our living quarters are finished. Something is telling me we are on the cusp—how’s that for a fancy word, Mr. Legal Man—of something big. Keeping the house could ruin the momentum and also, the opportunity for confusion between the nonprofit and ourselves will always exist. Would our home ever be truly ‘our home?’ As scary as it is, especially for you, I still think we need to jump in, turn the whole place over, live on faith that our dots will continue to connect.” He paused. “I’m still willing to listen to your arguments against doing so.”

Josh’s first thought was, is this the same carefree guy I fell in love with over ten years ago? Now, he’s quoting Steve Jobs and sounding like an organizational consultant. A good one. “Mr. Art Man who sounds like a management consultant, I still have butterflies, big ones, and probably will for some time. I’m with you. Let’s jump.” He took a sip of wine, looked at the dark grayness outside the window, and shuddered a bit. “You know what I feel right now?” Andres shook his head and raised his shoulders. “It’s a dumb analogy, but I feel like I’m a snowball at the top of a big hill, just starting down. I know I’m going to go faster and faster and get bigger and bigger and can’t stop myself, yet part of me feels that instead of hitting a tree, I’ll roll onto smooth, flat ground and the snow will melt quickly and I’ll be fine.” He sighed and looked down.

Andres’ arms encompassed him. “We’re both in the snowball, and even if the landing isn’t smooth, our dots will still be connecting. Together.”

What are they in for next?

Stay tuned…

Mark your calendars for June 20. The book will be officially released and available…