Saturday, June 27, 2009

Helen Keller's Threefold Theology of Thanks

"For three things I thank God every day of my life--that he has vouchsafed my knowledge of His works, deep thanks that He has set in my darkness the lamp of my faith, deep, deepest thanks that I have another life to look forward to--a life joyous with light and flowers and heavenly song" -Helen Keller.

1. God's Works of Faithfulness

Keller, like the prophets and historians of old, lauds the God of deliverance in history. He has consistently delivered up the oppressed; those who've turned back to him.

We know God's faithfulness by what he has done, by what he does now, and by what he has promised from the beginning of time. How could we not be truly thankful?

2. God Shows us to Faith

In all our darkness, he is there. Always is, always will be--ever present. Keller found her faith in the midst of darkness like so many of us have. She said,

"Often when the heart is torn with sorrow, spiritually we wander like a traveller lost in a deep wood. We grow frightened, lose all sense of direction, batter ourselves against trees and rocks in our attempt to find a path. All the while there is a path--the path of Faith--that leads straight out of the dense tangle of our difficulties into the open road we are seeking."

This describes faith saliently and profoundly for us. Like God's delivering of the oppressed, only the desperate, contrite heart--the person who's been scourged as same--can truly know God, surely.

3. We are Thankful for Heaven

If and when heaven is instituted on earth, there will be four transforming lights about it, according to Keller: Liberty, Truth, Brotherhood, and Service. These are the marks of the Kingdom of God on earth.

Keller had a life to look forward to in heaven, from that on earth, which compared a "humble and uncomfortable house to a mansion."


Helen Keller would no doubt have led a far deeper life than the average person could hope to, being so afflicted by disabling lack of sight and hearing; yet, she could see the twisted irony, and could be thankful for it, eternally. She perhaps found faith easier; she needed it. Yet we all need it.

Her faith both came from, and was triggered by, thankfulness.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved.

Quotes and inspiration from Helen Keller, The Faith of Helen Keller (Kansas City, Missouri: Hallmark Cards, Inc., 1967), pp. 21, 32-33, 36.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello SJ...

I ended up here via a Google search for "epitomic mysticism." Go figure. Nonetheless, I thought it might be more than coincidence, as I'd been thinking about Helen Keller quite a bit lately. The other day I saw a blind man walking across the street, and I immediately thought of the many skeptics and atheists who say there's no use for believing in that which can't be verified through the senses. I couldn't help but think that if that courageous blind man adopted their attitude, he might not leave home in the morning. Maybe I'll pick up the book you've cited from. Cheers