Thought For Today

I am so glad that you have found this site and I hope you will find encouragement and joy as you read through my thoughts on God, family and life.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Helen Keller

Our April Snow

I look out into the early morning light and see the snowflakes gently falling to the ground.  It brings me peace in knowing that snow like all of nature, knows its purpose, for snow is given to replenish the earth with needed moisture.  I also see the spring birds now sitting on our feeders filling themselves with sunflower seeds.  Only two days ago they were feasting on insects and seeds from the ground nearby.  Now we have approximately 5 to 9 inches of snow blanketing the trees and shrubs.   Only hours ago our trees were in the process of budding out and forming the new leaves of spring.  How things change unexpectantly, we do not foresee such a drastic transformation this time of the year, but it did happen and we must go along with these changes, for we have no choice.  Our choice though is in how we will look at these changes. 

Who me?  I don't eat flowers!
The other day Will and Abby asked me to read to them the book on Helen Keller for their bedtime story.  What a remarkable woman she was.  In the beginning, Helen as a little girl could not adjust to what had just happened to her in losing her sight and hearing.  She fought, hit, bit and pushed away the ones that were trying to help her.  She could neither hear nor see those around her and so she did not know how to respond.  All Helen knew was that once she could see and hear and now she could not.  Throughout the years, Helen was taught and helped by a woman named Anne Sullivan.  Anne was a woman who like Helen had lost her sight.  Anne, in time went through a series of eye surgeries and was able to regain partial sight.  She knew what poor little Helen was going through and was able to get beyond Helen’s outbreaks of anger and frustration and eventually teach her how to communicate by gestures.  Eventually Anne got Helen added help from a specialist who taught her how to speak and read braille.  Years later, Helen went on to college and graduated with honors and she became an inspiration for many.  She traveled throughout the world telling her story and how this one woman, Anne Sullivan, changed her life.  Helen Keller gave hope to many people throughout the world.  They too understood through Helen’s experience, that it was possible for themselves and their family members with the same handicap as Helen’s, that life beyond their physical limitations was possible.  Helen became a light in the darkness for so many people who were blind and deaf.

Just one little bite.
When I finished reading this story, I sat with Will and Abby and we talked about Helen’s experiences.  They did not know that one could do so much with such a handicap as Helen’s.  About that time their mommy entered the room.  I then began to tell them that these miracles still happen to this day.  I pointed over at Anne and began to tell our children about their mommy’s handicaps.  Anne was born with a traumatic birth disorder.  She had lost the hearing in her left ear and most of the hearing in her right ear.  The processing in the brain that would allow her to read and write was gone as well. 

When Anne was a little girl growing up, she did not want other children her age to know of her handicaps.  I imagine she was afraid of being made fun of or not seen as normal by some of her peers, this I have observed many times with other children in the schools that I worked in. 
I am certain it was not me that ate those flowers.
Anne wanted to do well in all that she did.  When she attended her local church Anne got involved in AWANA.  She would memorize scripture verses in AWANA with her mother’s help before each meeting and it amazed her teachers that she could know her bible so well.   When it came to bible reading time, she would look at her assigned bible verse when it came her turn to read in class, and she would appear to read flawlessly.  She knew by each student’s seating arrangement what verse was going to be assigned the next week and would later go home and with the requested help of her mother, and memorize each verse.  Anne would then act as if she was reading the Bible during the classroom reading time. 
Anne was home schooled and she received extensive help from her parents and from a particular teacher who took interest in her.  Through their efforts and Anne’s unfathomable determination, she started to be able to read at 12 and write passably at 15.  Anne started college at 16 and went on to finish with the highest honors her college could bestow on her.  She then went to complete her master’s degree in “English” and now she teaches writing and research courses at Winona State.  Her classes continually overfill and some students ask Anne’s superiors to have her as their teacher.  I believe that with Anne’s past and present handicaps, she is able to understand her students that come to her with their many needs, and because of this, Anne sits with them individually and work out ways for them to succeed in English.  Each student knows that when they step into her office, that she cares about them and wants them to succeed.  Anne has been such an inspiration to her students. 

What we can look forward to.
Within the next two years Anne will have completed her doctorate in Education Leadership, the highest degree that a college can bestow.  I am so proud of her, she not only inspires her students, she is an inspiration to her children and to me as well.  I believe Anne to be a humble person in so many ways, it's one of the reasons that I love her so.  She has told me that she sometimes shares her handicaps individually with her students so that they can gain hope in their efforts to overcome their struggles.   Anne has shown her students that she genuinely cares for them in that she continually wants to help her students to see where each of their potential will take them.  Each day before Anne leaves for work, she asks me to pray for her when she is working with her students.  She knows that it is not through her strength alone, but God’s wisdom and guidance that she is able to help those in need of her talents that our Lord has given her.  Anne also knows that those same talents were gained through trial, perseverance, and hope in a God who loved her and wanted Anne and now, her students to succeed as well.

Anne and Abby
We each have gifts that God has given to us.  Some of us are not aware of these special talents, and yet sometimes we are afraid to step out for fear of failure and rejection.  As with Anne, God knows each of us intimately and he will not abandon us.  Turn to him today and ask him what he would have you do with these special gifts he has given to you.  God will not disappoint you and he will not let you stumble.  A man once said, “Just remember that it is not the end result of our journeys that make us who we are, it is in the journey itself that we evolve.”  Start today and ask God to help you to use your wonderful gifts he has given to you.

If you have any comments that you feel would encourage others, feel free to write them down in the comments section.  Have a wonderful peace filled day.  Augie