An Artist's Quest

Home & Disappointment

quilted fabric wall hanging

quilted fabric wall hanging

Well this week has been a bit rough for my little family. My son Ivan, who is 16, applied this winter to the Untied World College.  The UWC, if you haven’t heard of it, is a two-year international program.  Students from all over the world are chosen to get a full scholarship to study together, collaborate together, live together all with the aim of creating world peace one person at a time. My son and 119 other kids in the USA were chosen out of 600 applicants for an interview. Of the 120 kids interviewed 50 were chosen.  We found out this week that our wonderful, generous, smart, delightful son was not chosen.  Of course all of us who know and love him from Bishop Marc of the Diocese of California to his loving grandparents and everyone in between thought Ivan was a shoe in.  But of course the other 119 kids who were interviewed had family and friend just as sure of their place in this wonderful international adventure.  And so my sweet son’s heart is a little broken and of course my heart is a little broken for him. I know in my intellectual self that rejection is not failure, and that trying is important. I also know that other doors will open and other adventures await; but this week none of that is available to the 16 year old heart. My heart was pinched as well to feel his hurt but also by a little note at the end of the rejection email.  The letter stated that there are a few spots left at the Wales campus (his first choice) for those who applied and who can pay $60,000.  Both he and I know that is not possible but a surge of guilt for this non-profit life my husband and I have chosen reared up and grabbed me by the throat.  We have lived a wonderful life at The Bishop’s Ranch in a beautiful place with wonderful people.  This has been a dream job for my gregarious, extroverted talented husband, a wonderful place for me to grow my art and my audience and of course a sweeping open place for our son to grow up.  But here we are at the launching place for him and we have very little in our bank account to show for it. The little devil on my shoulder is whispering in my ear that I have failed him, that in my own selfish pursuits of creative living I am keeping him from his dreams. That red-tailed whisperer reminds me that my own parents worked tirelessly at things they didn’t love to make sure my siblings and I could go to college and provide us with opportunities to flourish.  Of course I know what you are thinking my little angels out there, you and the white winged messenger on my other shoulder are whispering, “Lisa you have provided Ivan with a creative environment to live and grow and flourish and he will find his way”.  I know this to be true but still my throat is clenching and my eyes welling with tears as I listen to the dueling voices in my head.

The good news in all this (I guess this is selfish too) is  I get to have my son home for one more year while he completes his senior year of high school. I cannot open all the doors for him that I wish I could, and I know there are other disappointments ahead, but success and accomplishments await too. Through it all my husband and I will be his home, his comfy chair, his warm hug and always his biggest fans.  GO IVAN!

I worked on this quilted fabric chair piece this week at quilt retreat here at the Ranch.  I used self-made stencils to create the chair pattern for machine appliqué and for the painted details.  I’ll put this on my website soon.


5 responses

  1. Lisa Phelps

    Lisa, this is a beautiful, honest description of what I consider to be the biggest challenge of parenting – helping our kids through disappointment. It’s also so hard not to second-guess ourselves and the choices or circumstances of our lives. You make it clear that you know Ivan will find all the right opportunities in the future, but it’s still hard and painful. Thank you for your honesty in all parts of your life and journey. I know I’m inspired by your writing to reach out for support in the areas in which I struggle, because friends and community and thankfulness get us through these times. It’s easy for US to all see how Ivan will thrive and how his education will be provided…..but we are not his Mom this week, with this circumstance. We love you and if we can encourage you as you go through the “headed for college” phase, please let us know. I envision Ivan might take this experience and incorporate it into college application essays – certainly an experience of overcoming adversity and moving on! Love, Lisa

    April 26, 2013 at 11:36 am

    • Thank you for your kind words and support in the process, this journey we are on called life is full of unexpected consequences and on of the best ones for this episode was spending time with you and Mark during the interview process. Lisa

      April 26, 2013 at 1:54 pm

  2. Delores M. Olson

    I am sorry your precious son could not get into the college of his choice, but may better options come his way. The best blessing he has is a caring, loving family.

    April 26, 2013 at 1:49 pm

  3. Diane

    I really do understand your feelings, Lisa, but of course you know that the biggest bank account and a huge stock portfolio wouldn’t make up for having a selfish, difficult, unhappy kid. And the life you’ve made for Ivan, the choices you and Jack have made, have made Ivan who he is. You show him every day a life lived with strong values and loving relationships and sacrifices in material ways to live a beautiful life in a strong, supportive community. Those are gifts without price. {hug}

    April 26, 2013 at 7:39 pm

  4. Mary Anne

    Disappointment is difficult. Yet, it is part of life’s positive-negative balance and it makes success all the sweeter. If one is a person of faith, one believes that we alone do not control our destiny – life will unfold as it should if we allow the possibility of divine guidance. This disappointment may be a blessing for your son, Ivan, opening doors of greater opportunity and success.

    April 29, 2013 at 7:31 am

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