KGH spiritual health practitioner living big shoes to fill

Making a difference

An important someone is moving away and I’m sad.

Your life may have been touched by this man as the ripple of his care exceeds boundaries and walls. For those who live in Kelowna, or who have ever accessed our local hospital, the impact of his care has likely touched your life and you don’t even know it. This one person has made a huge, positive impact.

The power of this one man serves to remind me of the importance of showing up and consciously adding to the good our world so needs.

As a member of the Spiritual Advisory Team at Kelowna General Hospital (KGH), I’ve been privileged to work with spiritual health practitioner (SHP) Derek Koch for the past nine years. Derek expanded the SHP role at the hospital into a foundational aspect of care, touching individuals and creating initiatives and programs to enhance health care for all.

The effects of his passion for staff-care through all departments, especially during these challenging times, has strengthened care for us all.

Derek showed me the power one person has to profoundly touch the lives of many in a positive way, one person at a time. Many who’ve benefitted from his care may not even be aware, as the trickle-down effect of his efforts reached beyond the walls of the hospital through the patients, staff, families and volunteers his life has touched.

While Derek’s accomplishments during his tenure are many, I find remarkable, the way he was able to bring many diverse faith communities together to work in harmony toward common goals. We’ve found we have more in common and found through listening and respect, great things can be accomplished.

Derek is leaving Kelowna to follow the calling he and his wife, Irislee, have felt to embark on a new adventure of joining the leadership team in a school in Dhaka, Bangladesh. They’re blessed to have them.

In attending a farewell ceremony, I was privileged and moved to witness the multitudes he’s touched throughout the hospital and beyond. I recognized the importance his role played in supporting so many and it took my breath away.

We just need to look around the world right now to consider what one person can do, for good or bad. It’s easy to believe that we, as individuals, can’t make a difference in this world, but I beg to differ. We often think we don’t matter and we’re powerless to create positive change. That isn’t true. We each have a responsibility, as global citizens, to actively participate in creating our world within our own circle of influence.

We can believe the world is going to hell in a hand-basket and somebody needs to do something, waiting for someone else to take action. Yet, it’s up to each and every one of us to start showing up in a way that creates the kind of world we want, not only to live in, but to leave as a legacy to our heirs.

Making a positive difference isn’t reserved for people playing on the bigger world stage, it begins with small caring acts of everyday people, creating a kinder culture right where we live. Treating other people the way we’d like to be treated is a great start.

Every kind word or smile adds up. I am reminded of the words of Martin Luther King Jr. who said, “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

We feel better within ourselves when we make a pledge to leave people better than we found them. When each of us makes it our mission to do something positive every day, we actively participate in creating the better, kinder world we’re all longing for.

“I want to change the world,” said Tiny Dragon. “Start with the next person who needs your help,” replied Big Panda. (James Norbury)

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Corinne is first a wife, mother, and grandmother, whose eclectic background has created a rich alchemy that serves to inform her perspectives on life.

An assistant minister at the Centre for Spiritual Living Kelowna, she is a retired nurse with a master’s degree in health science and is a hospice volunteer.  She is also an adjunct professor with the school of nursing  at UBC Okanagan and currently spends her time teaching smartUBC, a unique mindfulness program offered at UBC, to the public. 

She is a speaker and presenter and from her diverse experience and knowledge, both personally and professionally, she has developed an extraordinary passion for helping people gain a new perspective, awaken and recognize we do not have to be a slave to our thoughts, stress or to life. We are always at a point of change.

Through this column, Corinne blends her insights and research to provide food for the mind and the heart, to encourage an awakening of the power and potential within everyone.

Corinne lives in Kelowna with her husband of 44 years and can be reached at [email protected].

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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