Saturday, April 28, 2012

Helen Keller

Helen Keller is one of my heroes. I have always admired her ever since I was 9, when I read a biography of her. I was fascinated with her story. It moved me very much. Later I listened to an audio book of her autobiography The Story of my Life. The whole idea of being blind and deaf was horrifying to me. To not be able to see or hear was unthinkable for me, unlivable even. Yet there was Helen Keller who over came that. Her story moves me, even now it can bring tears to my eyes. She overcame her difficulties, and even excelled. It amazes me.

Along with Helen comes Anne Sullivan, who made it possible for Helen to be who she was, one cannot talk about Helen without mentioning Anne Sullivan, Helen's mentor, teacher, and interpreter.

In her Biography Helen talks about how she could not see or hear, how this effected her education, and the way she thought. Because she could not not hear words or see them, she had not words to use to think. She had no way to express her self or make her self understood. She had her own limited sign language, but as she got older and what went on in her head became more complicated, she needed more to communicate. But she had no way of communicating to the outside world. She was on an isolated island where she could not reach others and they could not reach her. I cannot imagine how difficult that must be, how hard. I would be horrifying I do not know how I could live, without being able to communicate to others! I would probably become as frustrated and angry as she did.

But then came Anne Sullivan, and Helen's life changed forever. It must have been so hard for Anne, trying to reach Helen and yet unable to reach her. There must have been days when she wanted to give up, but she didn't.

The moments when Helen first put together W A T E R as with the liquid flower through her hands must have been truly amazing. For Helen the world was now opened up, and where there was once darkness now there was light. She could now tell others what was going on in her head. The realization that there was more out there than she could possibly know, that she could reach the outside. It is truly overwhelming to think about.

I have often wondered if Helen Keller understood that verse "those who have walked in darkness have seen a great light." Or she at least would have understood it more deeply than some having walked in darkness herself.

Every time I read her story or think about it I am always struck with it. It continues to amaze me in new ways each time. There are few stories in the world as amazing as hers.

Helen Keller quotes:

"Although the world is full of suffering, is is also full of overcoming it."

"As selfishness and complaint pervert the mind, so love with its joy clears and sharpens the vision."

"Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light."

"It is wonderful to climb the liquid mountains of the sky. Behind me and before me is God and I have no fears."

"Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood."

"I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble."

"Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourses of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness."

"Love is like a beautiful flower which I may not touch, but whose fragrance makes the garden a place of delight just the same."



  1. Thank you for sharing the life story of Helen Keller, Elizabeth. It is a really deep and touching story; I watched a film called, "Miracle Worker" about Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan and it was really, really touching! Have you heard of it?

    I like those quotes... thank you for sharing :).

  2. I have seen that movie. It was alright, but I had read a biography or two by the time I saw it, there were a few inaccuracies that annoyed me. Thank you for reading!