Widgets June 27 ~  Joy in Overcoming Obstacles Helen & Teacher

"Be of good cheer. Do not think of today's failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles." ~ Helen Keller

Helen Keller A symbol of courage who overcame great obstacles, extraordinary Helen Adams Keller (1880-1968) was born on this day on a farm near Tuscumbia, Alabama. An illness, perhaps scarlet fever, robbed of her sight and hearing at age 19 months.

"I was a phantom living in a no-world," Keller explained in her 1902 autobiography Story of My Life. "My inner life... was a blank without past, present, or future."

With the help of Alexander Graham Bell, the Kellers hired Anne Mansfield Sullivan (1866-1936) to teach the seven-year-old Helen how to communicate. "The most important day I remember in all my life is the one on which my teacher came to me," Keller later wrote.

Sullivan was nearly blind herself and with tenacity and spirit forced Helen's mind from the dark. Hour upon hour, Sullivan signed words into Helen's hand until the word W-A-T-E-R burst through.

"That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free!" said Keller, who understood and learned quickly by touching a person's face and "reading" what they said as they spoke. The precious awareness of language was her key to overcoming the obstacles of darkness.

"I seldom think about my limitations, and they never make me sad," Keller explained. "Perhaps there is just a touch of yearning at times; but it is vague, like a breeze among flowers."

With optimism and inspiration, Helen Keller became a living miracle, graduating cum laude from Radcliffe College in 1904. Called "the greatest woman of the 20th century by Winston Churchill," she inspired the world as a writer and powerful public speaker.

An advocate of social reform for the treatment of the handicapped, Keller once said, "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."

More Helen KELLER Quotations

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