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In Helen Keller’s writing, “How I Would Help the World,” she explained how she found and experienced spirituality, found color in her world of darkness, and how this changed her life.

Published May 29th, 2023

By Kim Crawford Meeks
Spiritual Care Manager

Since I was 8 years old, I have studied Helen Keller and have found great inspiration and motivation from her life, story and teachings. As you probably know, Helen had a fever that resulted in her losing her sight and hearing, and she was unable to speak. For several years, she lived in a stressful, dark and consuming world that lacked meaning.

Annie Sullivan, “Teacher” as Helen later called her, certainly did teach Helen so very much. Annie taught Helen to use sign language and enabled her to experience meaning and purpose. Helen was living a very disconnected life until Annie helped her to connect with her own body, mind and soul, with others, and with an Other. Even in a silent and dark world, Helen learned to paint with all the colors of the wind (to borrow from the lyrics of a beloved children’s movie). Helen found her own spirituality.

In Helen Keller’s writing, “How I Would Help the World,” she explained how she found and experienced spirituality, found color in her world of darkness, and how this changed her life.

“I have walked through its sunlit ways of truth, I have drunk of its sweet waters of knowledge, and the eyes of my spirit have been opened, so that I know the joy of vision which conquers darkness and circles heaven. Of one thing, I am sure; any effort is worthwhile that brings comfort to limited, struggling human beings in a dark, self-centered age. … It has given color and reality and unity to my thought of the life to come; it has exalted my ideas of love, truth, and usefulness; It has been my strongest incitement to overcome limitations.”

Whatever our belief systems may be, we all need to latch on to the hope of allowing color in this life and the life to come, and for our spirituality to exalt our ideas of love, truth and usefulness. May we all paint with all the colors of the wind.

Colors of the Wind

Can you sing with all the voices of the mountain?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?

Come run the hidden pine trails of the forest
Come taste the sun sweet berries of the Earth
Come roll in all the riches all around you
And for once, never wonder what they're worth

The rainstorm and the river are my brothers
The heron and the otter are my friends
And we are all connected to each other
In a circle, in a hoop that never ends

We need to sing with all the voices of the mountain
We need to paint with all the colors of the wind

You can own the Earth and still
All you'll own is Earth until
You can paint with all the colors of the wind

Love starts with you and me,
Chaplain Kim Crawford Meeks

 

Colors of the Wind by Judy Kuhn
Songwriters: Alan Menken / Stephen Laurence Schwartz
Colors of the Wind lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company
Keller, Helen, 1880–1968. How I would help the world / Helen Keller. p. cm. ISBN 978-0-87785-336-7



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