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Visions Of American History: Helen Keller’s Story Of Blindness Reminds Us To Stay Focused On Our Mission

Visions Of American History: Helen Keller's Story Of Blindness Reminds Us To Keep Our Vision

Helen Keller Is Ingrained In The American Mind

Most of us have heard of the famous Helen Keller. She’s made it to our history textbooks, her life is a story we tell to children, and she is monumental figure in American history. With pride we can tell the tale of one of our remarkable past citizens, and how her tragic story of childhood blindness turned into a life of learning, breaking down social stigmas, and advocating for others with disabilities.

She is a memorable picture of what happens when we do not allow obstacles in life keep us from having vision and serving a greater purpose.

Helen was not even two years old when she went blind and deaf from an unknown illness, possibly scarlet fever. With two of her five senses taken from her, the course of her life was irrevocably altered. At this time in history, life looked pretty bleak for a person in her condition. But we all know the story, right? With the help of her beloved teacher and friend, Anne Sullivan, Helen learned to read, speak, and write. Highly intelligent and determined, Helen went on to become the first blind and deaf person in history to graduate college, and she didn’t stop there. She became a highly regarded writer and social activist, influencing the social and political mindset of her day. As an author she used words, once so far out of her reach, to communicate her spiritual and moral ideals to people everywhere, and her work with American Foundation for the Blind and American Foundation for Overseas Blind (now Helen Keller International) provided help for people worldwide.

This lady wasn’t slowing down for anyone. 

In her later years, she literally toured the globe meeting world leaders and encouraging people with disabilities everywhere. After her death, Senator Lister Hill of Alabama spoke at her public memorial service and is quoted as having said,

She will live on, one of the few, the immortal names not born to die. Her spirit will endure as long as man can read and stories can be told of the woman who showed the world there are no boundaries to courage and faith.’ ”

Helen’s Dedication To Vision Is Contagious

Helen was nothing less than an overcomer, someone who would not allow the closed doors of this life keep her from walking through the open ones. Her blindness ironically led to her giving vision to many, and as we look back at her life, she gives us here at Vision Source Meadville encouragement and fresh insight. 

She is known to have said, “The only thing that is worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” 

Helen Keller could have been a handicapped person who simply functioned in this world.

She could even have been a blind person who functioned well and was the first blind and deaf person to go to college, which would have been remarkable in itself.

But Helen Keller chose to be more than that. She was a blind person who not only functioned well in a world that didn’t have many resources to offer her, but also turned around and gave her time, knowledge, and love to a world in need. Not only did she surmount her personal difficulties, but she then poured herself out to see others surmount theirs.

Here at Vision Source Meadville, we could be a small-town local business.

We could even be a small-town local business that does exceedingly well, and we think, by God’s grace, we’ve accomplished that. 

But what we want is to be more. We want to have not only sight but also a vision, and be able to see that vision through. When we defined our new mission statement at the beginning of this year we listed a series of beliefs that came to one conclusion:

  • We believe that we were created to love and serve our fellow man.
  • We believe business is about more than making a profit, it’s about using that profit to help meet the needs of others.
  • We believe that all lives matter, and that our lives serve a greater purpose than just our own.
  • We believe God has called us to love as He loves.
  • We believe that by working together, we can make a difference in this hurting world.
Our mission is to shine the light and love of Jesus Christ by meeting the physical needs of those around us.

We want to expand beyond our four walls, beyond our limited resources, and beyond just being an optometrist’s office. And like Helen and many other examples before us, we want to overcome any obstacle we face to be able to give hope and make a difference in this hurting world.

Thank you so much for partnering with us, so that together we can be a practice with purpose and vision!!