Monday, March 21, 2011

In the Dark and Silence. . .

Noted Alabamian Helen Keller once stated, "I thank God for my handicaps. Through them I have found myself, my work, my God."

Helen Keller wrote 12 published Helen Keller.books and multiple published articles. She was a political activist and traveled the world as a lecturer. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the United States' highest two civilian honors.

This is impressive, but it is more impressive when one realizes that at the age of 19 months, as the result of an illness described by doctors as "an acute congestion of the stomach and the brain," Helen was left blind and deaf. She was trapped in a world of darkness and silence.

Helen might have stayed in her world without language had it not been for twenty year old Anne Sullivan,who taught her sign language and opened up the world for Helen.

Although not as visible as Helen's disabilities, sometimes we allow our own persecutions, trials and difficulties to trap us in a spiritual world that appears dark and silent. Not that we are blind or deaf, but we grow blind to the thousands of ways the Lord expresses Himself to us every moment, in and around us. We are not deaf, but we can't hear those He has given to us as the safe counselors to whom we should be listening.

How often is our speech sprinkled with the words "I", 'me" and "my"? How often to we actively seek to take the attention off ourselves and seek out information and knowledge about those around us? Helen Keller needed Anne Sullivan to take her attention out of her lonely and dark isolation and put it on all the things around her. Only then could she really "see" and the light shone brightly in her mind. her world was opened up to her. It was said Anne Sullivan was exhausted because Helen would not rest until Anne had "signed" to her the name of every object Helen could reach.

Let us attempt to exhaust an inexhaustible God by seeking all there is to know of Him and then asking Him to reveal to us all there is to know of Him in our world. Like Helen, may our "eyes" be opened to all around us that we have failed to see. May we touch them in a new and different way and in doing so, may we touch our world.


The story of how Anne Sullivan broke through Helen's isolation has become widely known through the dramatic depictions of the play and film The Miracle Worker.

The "breakfast scene" in The Miracle Worker is eight minutes of the best acting ever performed on screen. As hard as it must have been to perform for the camera, The Miracle Worker also had 719 performances on Broadway.

Imagine coming to work each night and doing this:

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