When I started my online interview to get into the Master of Design program at Emily Carr University of Art and Design (ECUAD), everything was hopeful. The man who interviewed me stated that my application stood out because of my proposed area of research. I was flattered. He was, after all, the Director of Health and Design at the university. My application had proposed the very topic he was currently using to apply for a research grant. I immediately thought this must be divine intervention!
ECUAD offered everything I ever wanted in a formal education program: it is world ranked, highly competitive, and offers mentorship that will help me catapult my design career. To top it off, the school is in Vancouver, British Columbia; meaning I wouldn’t have to move my five children far from family.
The first question he asked was: What design education do you have and how are you going to be able to keep up in a rigorous program that is for design professionals? Disclaimer: My undergraduate degree may have been in Fine Arts, but I have no experience with product design. I knew in that moment that this pipe dream was over. I started sifting through the graduate programs I did get into. The perceived rejection was hard to take, but I took comfort in knowing that harsher trials have been endured successfully by others and myself. Faith has and always will keep my footing.
I think of my mother, who is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As a young wife she experienced multiple miscarriages. She was shattered when her priest told her these children were lost to her. My mother is a very spiritual woman and prayed to God to help her find a church that offered answers. Who showed up at her door that week? Two Mormon missionaries. And as she turned them away she clearly heard a voice remind her that she prayed for them. She read the entire Book of Mormon that night, got baptized and later raised ten children in the church.
I know that it is only because of this level of faith from my righteous mother that I have my hearing. I was born deaf. I had to learn to communicate without words and use my other senses to navigate my surroundings. At the age of three, I received a priesthood blessing and was miraculously healed. It defied explanation, even by doctors. Why me? Why this experience? It really is unbelievable!
When my acceptance letter from ECUAD didn’t arrive, I went to the temple and prayed: Dear God, you know what I need. I need to stay close to family. My children need a place where they can continue to strive. My oldest son is preparing so serve a mission; he needs to be near a temple and have the positive influence of his grandfather. We have so much going on in our lives, we need religious and family support to keep progressing. You know I’m a bit anxious and scared to leave the home we know and community we love. I know you have a plan for me and my family, but please help me know what I need to do!
After a week of looking through back-up schools to attend in the Fall, I realized none were able to keep my children so close to family. None offered the education I felt I needed. And that’s when I received an email from the office of admissions at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.
I visited ECUAD this month for the first time and met with the same Health Design Director who interviewed me months before. As we sat down and began discussing my course plans, I realized the man is hearing impaired. I asked about his hearing aids and his history of hearing loss, he knew I was born deaf from my personal statement but had not mentioned it in our interview.
He responded in amazed curiousity, saying he was very interested in learning about how I was able to regain my hearing. I relayed the story of the miraculous healing and that there really is no other explanation, medical or otherwise. We discussed more about my goals as a student and design professional and how we could work together. And that is when I realized, this is why I was born deaf!
Heavenly Father prepared a plan with every detail in place to help guide each of His children through life. As we stumble along the path or find ourselves lost, He provides miracles to remind us that we are still His original masterpiece, a work-in-progress that He will see to the end. It is both humbling and reassuring to know that I am so well loved and taken care of. Each time I catch a glimpse of His hand, it strengthens my resolve to live more faithfully to be worthy of blessings, and rejoice in the beauty of His process.
Because I learned to speak later than developmentally normal, I received speech therapy until grade eight. The exercise of repeatedly mimicking pronunciation resulted in my development of an accent from an east-coast therapist. I was raised in California. While the accent has neutralized my propensity to immitate idiosyncrasies in voice has not. So if you have an accent and I’m reluctant to converse it is because I’m afraid what will come out of my mouth!