As a child I read the story of how Helen Keller learnt how to speak with the help of her devoted teacher and friend Anne Sullivan. The story was made into a childrens book and I was fascinated by the story of how she transformed form an almost feral child (due to her frustration at not being able to communicate) to a very accomplished lady. I still remember the illustration showing Helen putting her hands under a running tap and learning the word water.
Helen Keller was a perfectly healthy child in 1880 but at the age of 18months contracted an illness that left her blind and deaf. Despite struggling to learn how to speak she became a world famous author, activist and speaker . She was the first deaf and blind person to earn a Bachelors of Arts Degree. This incredibly accomplished woman apart from being a prolific author, was well-travelled and campaigned tirelessly for women’s suffrage (the right for women to vote) , labour rights and more. Keller proved to the world that deaf people could all learn to communicate and that they could survive in the hearing world. She also taught the world that deaf people are capable of doing things that hearing people can do and is one of the most famous deaf people in history.
Helen refused to let her circumstance stop her from achieving her dreams and years after her death in 1968 she is still celebrated for all her accomplishments. She has lots of wise quotes and today I would like us to be inspired by the quotes and the life of this woman of great vision.
“It’s a terrible thing to see and have no vision” Indeed Helen may have been blind but she had amazing vision and it was her vision that enabled her reach such lofty heights. She knew what she wanted and did not allow her disabilities stop her. There are many people who have 20:20 eyesight but their soul is visionless. They have no dreams, no aspirations and are just living life from one day to another . This kind of purposeless living actually speaks of ingratitude to our God who made us and gave us so many amazing attributes. Stop complaining about the present instead get a vision for you future and work towards it. Have a vision for your spiritual life, for your fitness, for your family as a vision helps you see your way forwards and work towards a goal. Remember that without vision the people cast restraint -they perish ( Proverbs 29 vs 18)
“No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of they stars or sailed to an uncharted land…”
Attitude is everything! Personally I avoid pessimists as much as I can as they have a way of clouding even the sunniest situation with grey clouds. When life happens do you stay throwing yourself a pity party or do you take the lemons life has thrown you and make sweet lemonade? One of the best things about being an optimist is that it enables you always see the good side and see life the “sunny side up”. Helen was certainly an optimist and that helped her achieve so much despite her seeming disabilities.
“When one door closes another opens, but we often look so regretfully upon the closed door that we don’t see the one that has opened for us.”
Stop looking at closed or missed opportunities , rather learn the lessons and move ahead. Many times we are so busy looking at the closed doors that we end up missing more and sometimes better opportunities. Many times we dwell so much on that broken relationship that we end up ignoring all the beautiful people around us, remember when one door shuts another will surely open so let go and let God.
“We can do anything we want to do if we stick to it long enough” Yes indeed! Helen learnt to talk by feeling vibrations of the throat and nose aswell as the way her teacher positioned her lips and tongue when speaking. It was not the conventional way to learn how to speak and was extremely complex and exhausting but she kept at it and within a few days made her first sentence. This shows that if you try and practice almost anything (even those thing you are not naturally skilled at ) you will learn and maybe even become better that those with the natural skill. You may not be a naturally organised person or good at managing finances but we can learn these skills if we try , try and try again.
“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties”
Ask God to keep your Joy intact and make up you mind that no mater what you will be happy. Once your joy is intact it will build a fortress that will see you through the vagaries of life. Never allow the enemy steal your Joy and no matter what you go through you will come out fine by God’s grace.
“No one has the right to consume happiness without producing it.”
Bottom line ? do not be selfish. If God has blessed you in anyway and you have received happiness why not make others happy? Why not spread the joy? It doesn’t cost much to produce happiness in the life of others it could be something as simple as telling your co-worker how lovely she looks or paying someone schools fees. Resolve today to make someone else happy and produce happiness in others.
“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood”
Experience can not be quantified and one life experience can teach more lessons then than theory. While there are some experiences that we don’t need to go through ensure you embrace the positive ones and learn hands on. Even with the not so pleasant opportunities ensure you learn the lessons so that they do not reoccur.
“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much”
Collaboration is powerful and this is something Helen Keller learnt well. Her beloved teachers helped her learn how to read, write and speak and her life in general was full of beautiful collaborations. It’s important as women to find people you can collaborate with, like minds who don’t feel threatened by you but are confident enough for to work with you and achieve great things! Remember a single broomstick can’t sweep a room.
“I am only one … I cannot do everything , but I can do something”
Yes you may not be able to change the world but you can change your circle through your actions and eventually the ripple effect will be felt. You may feel you singular actions have no effect but you will shocked at the impact of your actions . Refuse to be complacent and play your part.
“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small take as if they were great and noble”
Even the little things you do should be done well. While you wait for the big opportunities remember they may come as a result of the excellent way you have accomplished the seemingly small things. See a man diligent in His ways? He shall stand before Kings and not mere men. (Proverbs 22 vs 29)
There are many more lessons to learn from this amazing lady but for me chief of all is not to let circumstances stand in your way. No matter the circumstances of your birth or stuff life has thrown you please move on and be the great woman God has created you to be.