A Lesson from Helen Keller

 

      Helen Keller was born on June 27, 1880 and died on June 1, 1968.  She and I share the same birthday, so I have always had more than a casual interest in her.  She had tremendous compassion for the poor and the disabled.  I guess having compassion for those in need is easier when one has had to endure so much.  Helen Keller was a prolific communicator despite being blind and deaf, the two senses people rely on the most to send and receive language.  Her cause was the needy in whatever shape that need took.

     I would have to imagine that her sympathy was tempered by a bit of the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” attitude that she embraced throughout most of her life.  She received a great deal of help in her life from others, but one does not become the inspirational icon she did without a lot of gumption.

     Here is one quote of hers: “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”  But she did not believe overcoming everything ought to be left up to the individual.  She was a strong believer in the “haves” helping out the “have nots.”

     Paul writes about this in Galatians 6: 2-3.   “Carry each others burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ ….  For each one should carry his own load.”  This seems to be a contradiction, but it parallels the style and sentiment of the well-known passage from Ecclesiastes 3.  “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven:  A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, and so forth.”

       Paul is simply saying that sometime in life your problems can and should be solved by your own gumption.  But at other times the combined strength of the community is necessary to solve the problem.

     We should not be so proud as to reject the help of others in our time of need.  Nor should we be so self-centered as to refuse to offer our help to those who are in need.  Charity is a spiritual blessing to those who receive it and to those who offer it.

     “Let us not become weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Therefore as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially those who belong to the family of believers.”  –Galatians 6: 9-10