The story of Helen Adams Keller is told in the play and film of the same name, The Miracle Worker.  Born both seeing and hearing, she had her sight and hearing taken by childhood illness.  She had already started to communicate at the time she lost her faculties, but the illness was a setback to her capabilities.  Nonetheless, she and her family learned 60 signs that they made up in order for her to communicate her needs and wishes.  The breakthrough for her came when her mother reached out to specialists in the conditions that affected her daughter.  The family was subsequently put in contact with a teacher, Anne Sullivan, who broke down the remaining barriers and taught Ms. Keller how to fully communicate her thoughts through sign language.    Ms. Keller went on to lead an amazing life by anyone’s standard.  She went to three different schools that cater to the disabled, and once her communicative abilities reached an advanced level, she entered The Cambridge School for Young Ladies and, ultimately, Radcliff College where she was the first deaf blind person to earn a bachelors degree. Later, she became an author, political activist, and lecturer. 

Ms. Keller’s story is the story of all of us, really.  We all are born with certain capabilities, but we are all also born with limitations.  Moreover, throughout our life, we encounter so many obstacles that must be overcome.  Therefore, the overall fruition of our possibilities,
despite the magnitude of the obstacles we face,  is governed primarily by our own willpower, confidence, courage, or willingness to suffer or work hard.  The sky is the limit as the old saying goes.  God made us so amazingly that there is no telling how far any given human life can go.  Our country was built on this idea that anyone can aspire to greatness, so even if we never reach the mark we set for ourselves, our constitutional freedoms and our strong human spirit ensure that we go so much further than we might have imagined.  This spirit, along with our aspirations and dreams, drives us to conquer the unconquerable.  Even those of us with seemingly disastrous conditions can rise to greatness as so many stories throughout history have shown.  The music of great men like Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles who were both blind remind us, along with Ms. Keller’s story, of the great potential within every person, even when seemingly indispensable faculties or bodily capabilities are taken from us. Modern history has many more such stories of human triumph by those that God blessed with differences or what we assumed would be insurmountable limitations.  You may even know of families that are so amazing with handicapping conditions of one or more members, yet they lead successful, triumphant lives. 

Every human being that was great in life or history always had the same start as you or I.  Certainly there are differing circumstances in life due to wealth, culture, technology, personality, etc.  All of us, however, start off as a blank slate, full of various talents and tremendous possibility to impact the world.  Moreover, there is something within the human spirit that God has placed there that has the capability to overcome seemingly all obstacles.  I believe, also, that God has inspired certain leaders at key points in human history lessons for the rest of us about prejudice, pride, and capabilities if we apply ourselves a little better or work a little harder.  I believe God even inspires the great improvements of history, placing key ideas within people so that He can bless all of humanity with certain capabilities, advancements, or comforts.  I align myself with Tolstoy in being suspicious of the narrative that great men drive history.  So even though we usually try to take credit for everything, I believe that we owe much more credit to God than we think.  Unfortunately, it is human nature to want to believe that we did it all, and this leads to the one fatal flaw in humanity, hubris or excessive human pride.  Like the fabled Achilles heel, this one fatal flaw leads to our own destruction so often.  Certainly, you cannot discount the impact of human action, either good or bad, because God has placed within us amazing capabilities, having made us “a little lower than the angels” (Psalm 8:5, Heb. 2:7).  Yet, we must remember that all of creation was stained with the spiritual effects of the simple act of sin by one man and one woman.  This, in itself, should hobble us without outside intervention.  Moreover, ever since that act, men and women have faced numerous disasters that might have wiped out humanity either of our own making or from the sin-effects on the fallen world around us.  I believe that the sin effect is the main reason for natural disasters throughout human history.  With all this stacked against us, we can never forget the debts that we owe God, for our own individual lives, for the second birth available to us through Jesus, but also for the daily and constant intervention He makes to keep us from being consumed by the effects of all the bad in us and around us. 

 


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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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