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A Different Kind of Color

“I must study politics and war that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy…In order to give their children a right to study painting poetry and music.”  John Adams

John Adams was an honorable bright man.  I am pleased that he did study politics, and war, and that I am able to study painting and music.  Yet I would assert … if more of the human race studied art, there would be far less thought of war, and politics would not be a vulgar word. I’m grateful for the inclination to be filled with a different kind of color.

Desperate to cash in the campaign trail for my studio life, I joked with people that I was going back to sniff oil paint for a few days, and that I should not be disturbed.  I envisioned the scene like a screenplay, me, in my glory, dashing out one vibrant moving masterpiece after the other. A feverishly delightful display, the epitome of what John Adams had fought for.

But we don’t get our art that purely, unless we pay the price of solitude. And solitude doesn’t fit my budget right now. Two weeks ago our sweet 13 year old daughter was diagnosed with sever scoliosis and doctors tell us that she will eventually (sooner than later) need a spinal fusion; an awful process that will limit her mobility for life. Unending hours of research, feelings of despair, anger, guilt, determination, and ultimately…hope, were accompanied by the smell of oil paint, and a knowing that I could not let one obstruction be the cause of another.

Together we will fight. I will not give up all that gives me peace, as I need it more than ever.  I will not pack up all of my dreams. She needs to know that dreams are worth fighting for, and that obsticals will always arise. She will develop stamina and six-pack abs.  I will develop a stellar portfolio that speaks. We will be slaves to the everyday value of discipline.  The rewards will be evident, weather our pursuit is posture or paint.  We will caress the outcome, with faith and grace, and see where it takes us. Together we will study our little war, so that she may have the freedom to study whatever she wills.


6 Responses to A Different Kind of Color

To be blessed with this family of mine is more than any one person should ever ask for.

Posted by Tom Sullivan · via · 137 months ago


Please know that all of here at FASO just love your daughter and that she, and all of your family, are in our thoughts.

Posted by Carrie Turner · via · 137 months ago

Beautiful, Kelly

Posted by Ginnynorthcott · via · 137 months ago

Kelly… the honesty with which you write is both inspiring and heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing not just the facts of Aiden’s challenge but also your inner response because that’s where life is lived. When we share that with ourselves and others, we open up to the nature of being human and you help me see myself (as a human and parent) in a new way.

You have a tough cookie in Aiden. Like you, she is smart, strong but at the same time willing to be vulnerable. She has everything she needs to make her way through this because she has you, Tom and Liam.

I miss you, darlin.

Posted by Deneen · via · 137 months ago

Oops… I meant Aidan!

Posted by Deneen · via · 137 months ago

Hi Kelly, This may be dismissed as semantics, but I think this little shift can make such a difference. And the shift is… Work verses fight.
What are we working for verses what are we fighting for?
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m easily riled and have a tendency myself to frame my struggle(s) in terms of warring. However, it struck me that the analogy falls apart right about the time that I have a setback if I consider that I haven’t lost. I can only lose when I stop working toward my goal(s). In a fight, you either win or lose. In work, you either finish the job or still have work to do. In work, if you haven’t obtained your goal(s), you can continue to pursue. Pursuit is the hopeful act of obtaining your desire(s). Fighting somehow doesn’t have that positive momentum. Fighting makes it sound like someone is going to get hurt and it very well could be me. Fighting will only stave the inevitable agony of death for such a short amount of time while pursuit fills what time we have with joys and triumphs that nurture not only ourselves, but those around us too.
Work is what you do. You are always up to the task at hand and you inspire others because your approach is always about solutions and not about fighting. You are such a positive person and though the struggle can be daunting at times, the momentum and genius that you bring to the table give short shrift to most impediments!

Posted by Reed · via · 137 months ago


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