Quotes from smart people - Helen Keller

© Cheese Curds and Kimchi

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it."   
---Helen Keller

When I was a kid, I loved books about Annie Oakley and Trixie Belden. (For the record, I tried Nancy Drew, but she seemed a bit uptight. Trixie was much more similar to my tomboyish style.)

There was something about these outgoing girls that drew me in and I spent many a night with a flashlight under the sheets, reading about their adventures.

But as much as I adored the fantasy world of Trixie and the butt-kickin' ways of Annie, the woman who really captivated my imagination was Helen Keller.

It was Helen's tenacity that I adored. I marveled how she struggled to conquer the life she was given, when others had written off her life as worthless. She dared to want a life for herself that was more than others could envision.

Keller's fight was to live the best life she could. She knew the realities of her situation, and while she was likely haunted by "why me" at times, she seemed to have moved past that. She found a way to create a rich and full life despite the fact that she wasn't equipped the same as other people were.

When I came across this quote by Keller recently, I was reminded again of the power of her story--perhaps the suffering she refers to may be the loss of hearing and sight, but the lessons can be applied to the suffering of infertility and the journey to parenthood as well.

I wonder if we were in her position, how many of us would have become overwhelmed with the "why me"? Would we become trapped by that question, living our lives in despair and hopelessness, always allowing the "inequities" to keep us from having the lives we wanted?

For all those people I've met on this adoption journey, I think the answer would be 'no'. She was a fighter, and we are too. We are trying to live our lives as mothers/parents, despite the challenges that may be in our way. Whether the difficulties are infertility or adoption-related, we are forging forward, finding a way to create our families.

So what I take away from this quote...there are inequities, or suffering in life. The key to moving forward is to take one step at a time. Find the fortitude to move forward when you are consumed with unanswerable questions. Keep moving. And recognize that suffering and pain is all part of any journey that is worth taking.

Yep, Helen Keller still inspires me, after all these years.


  1. Oh, Helen... she is an incredible inspiration, and I'm so happy you brought this topic up. It makes me think two things: one, how silly my own "suffering" seems in comparison to such an incredible woman as Helen Keller. And two, how we all fight battles. Daily. And no one person's battles are any better or worse, harder or easier, than anyone else's. We ALL have issues. And in my opinion, if we stop fighting, we stop living. Life IS a struggle, and the people who just allow themselves to be carried along by its whims are the ones who never truly live. Fight!!! :)

  2. Great post. I also came to admire Helen Keller just this past spring. I was helping an adult English language learner with limited vision read a story book about Hellen Keller. He was SO INSPIRED by her story. He kept saying things like, "Wow, she is amazing... Wow... Wow!" It was really moving. And maybe this is a similar reason I love reading blogs... I find the stories inspiring, strengthening, and supportive. We're not alone in this world! (By the way, I'm Jen, nice to meet you, lol... I've added you to my blogroll, hope it's okay!)

  3. Thanks for this post today...I needed it.

  4. i've been responding to your last email for a couple of days now, worrying all the while that i might write something that is offensive to you, given our very different journeys to motherhood.
    after reading this, i'm certain i have the right words to finish my letter tonight.
    thinking of you.


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