“So much has been given to me I have not time to ponder over that which has been denied.” Helen Keller
My husband just told me about this quote by Helen Keller, who was born both blind and deaf. It brought back memories of my seventh grade English class. My teacher was an alcoholic, which all the students knew but the administration ignored for an inappropriate length of time. She checked out of teaching and centered her entire curriculum on the bombing of Hiroshima and the extraordinary person of Helen Keller. I had no idea so many documentaries were based on these two subjects, but it seemed she had found every one and we watched movie after movie throughout the semester.
As you might be able to tell from my writing, my grammar suffered due to this mismanagement of the language arts by the public institution to which I was assigned. I could tell you the intricacies of the atomic bomb, but if you asked me to identify a dangling modifier, I’d probably search for something hanging from your nose.
I can’t say it was all bad though. This teacher’s addiction was probably kept quiet longer than one might think possible thanks to the motivations of her students. We knew Ms. K’s class as a retreat. Every time I walked into her room and saw that metal TV stand on rollers with a VCR revved up and ready to play, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of satisfaction. This was my hour off. An escape from the pressurized life of a seventh grader. No need to answer questions. Just movies.
Other than a break from school, Ms. K’s documentaries offered another positive. I acquired a profound appreciation for the achievements of Helen Keller. I remember watching those films and feeling a bit of perspective even though I was at the peak of self-absorbed adolescence. Miss Keller was humble, yet strong. Handicapped, yet able beyond measure. Her words made a lasting impression on me.
When my husband reminded me of Helen Keller’s quote this morning, that same feeling of perspective came back.
I have so much, why should I ever focus on what I lack?
This theme of gratitude has been something God has brought to my attention recently. Too often I catch myself playing the victim. Complaining of no sleep because I fed my beautiful baby boy multiple times in the night. Or whining because my clothes are old and out of style as I look at a full closet.
Instead of focus too many words on how I fail in this area, I am choosing to look forward. A resolution of gratitude is what I hope for in 2015. Something that I know will help me in that goal is coming back to this blog. I want to write again. It is an accountability tool I can count on. It’s like sitting down with a sister that can openly tell you what you need to hear even when it hurts.
I won’t always write about perspective. Sometimes I might resort to old writing prompts just to get words on the screen. Or I’ll post excerpts from a project I’m working on. Either way, writing allows me to flush thoughts out of my head and let them breathe. That’s important I’ve found.
In those times when I don’t have any clear thoughts to explore, I might just post a short video with stories from Hiroshima survivors. A tribute to Ms. K and her steadfast commitment to showing us just how good we have it.