Helen Keller is one of my heroes. Her faith, courage and unswerving determination to be a shining light in the ignorance that exists toward those with disabilities, is an inspiration to me in my own challenges.
I have a visual astigmatism in both eyes. In the year 2000 before leaving Canada to start a position as Assistant Professor of English as a second language at Kwandong University in the city of Kangnung, South Korea, I had surgery on both eyes. Without that surgery I would have become blind. My sight isn’t the best, but I see great opportunities to continue on in the spirit of Helen Keller, to be one of Christ’s lights in the spiritual darkness of people’s lives.
This is one of my favourite Helen Keller quotes that speaks to my journey of faith.
“I believe that God is in me as the sun is in the colour and fragrance of a flower – the Light in my darkness, the Voice in my silence.”
My Mom died of a massive heart attack three days before Christmas 1992. I have much to thank her for. Mom, thanks for having me placed in a specialized reading program, so I would learn that people like Helen Keller and Louis Braille moved beyond their physical challenges to do great things with their lives, that continue to have an impact on millions of people. They are examples for all of us to follow that our perceived disabilities can be of great advantage. Our challenges both visible and invisible give us a window of understanding into the suffering of others and their dreams.
A writer friend of mine wrote to me recently expressing I believe what the Holy Spirit put upon her heart to say. “Kevin, dream big.” So many people with physical and developmental challenges stop dreaming or make their dreams smaller than they should. They tuck their own dreams away, living a life much less than God ever wanted for them. I know this because I have seen so many of my friends with physical challenges not be given the opportunity to realize their dreams. Many who care for me say I need to live a life of altered expectations because of my challenges.
If I can help one person out there to see, to not give up hope for a brighter tomorrow, then the energy used to write this post will have been worthwhile. NEVER allow anyone to stomp all over your dreams. Strengthen your resolve to show them they are wrong in their perceptions. Yet, understand at the same time that when those who love you see you’re doing too much, listen to what they have to say.
Remember that the tortoise won the race and the hare lost. Enjoy your journey of learning and discovery of the full measure of who you are and will become. I took 13 years to get my Bachelor of Theology degree with honours from Canada Christian College & Graduate School. Little did I know that I was fighting the unknown enemy of pernicious anemia a.k.a. B12 deficiency and an another auto immune condition called mastocytosis. But I did it. For that accomplishment I give the glory, thanks, honour and praise to God. That Voice in my spirit said to keep on, to never give up. Now, I am in graduate training for my M.A. -Ph. D in Clinical Christian Counselling at St. James the Elder Theological Seminary.
Pace yourself in achieving your life goals. I write these words because I wrestle with my own impatience with myself. When I get ahead of myself and the Lord’s plan for my life God, Karen, my counsellors and a host of other family and friends are there to remind me with love that I am not the lazy, stupid, weak, good for nothing my schizo affective father and many others say I am. My journey as it is for all of us is one of forgiving those who have abused and abandoned us. Slow and steady wins the race as we fight the good fight of faith together and encourage others to do likewise.
I will let Helen have the last word.
“They took away what should have been my eyes (but I remembered Milton’s Paradise). They took away what should have been my ears, (Beethoven came and wiped away my tears) They took away what should have been my tongue, (but I had talked with God when I was young) He would not let them take away my soul, possessing that I still possess the whole.”
― Helen Keller, The Story of My Life