In June of 1968 I turned 10 years old. I moved across town from one house to another in Aiken, SC. I started 5th grade at a new (to me) school (Aiken Elementary). I left behind one set of neighborhood friends and met a new set. I had surgery to remove a swollen lymph gland from the side of my head. My folks were divorced and my dad lived 60 miles away. There was a lot of upheaval in my life that year – but nothing compared to the upheaval that our country was experiencing.
1968 was a very bad year for the United States. Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King was assassinated. Robert Kennedy, who more than likely would have won the presidency, was assassinated. We were in the middle of the Vietnam War, the My Lai massacre took place, and the anti war movement was at its height. Richard Nixon was elected president in November and that initiated 6 years of political disaster.
And Helen Keller died – 51 years ago today at the age of 87.
In case you are not familiar with her, Helen Keller was blind and deaf from infancy. And yet she became an accomplished writer, lecturer, and international advocate for the disabled. She graduated cum laude from Radcliffe and in 1964 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, by President Lyndon Johnson.
Keller was famously taught how to speak and read by Anne Sullivan. The first word that she learned was “water.” She later described the experience this way: “I knew then that ‘w-a-t-e-r’ meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free.”
There was a time many years ago when I was in many ways like Helen Keller. I was spiritually blind. I was deaf to the words of Scripture. And my sin had disabled me from enjoying a relationship with God – a relationship that I had been created for. And then when I was 17 my soul was awakened when I placed my faith in Jesus. I saw the light. I experienced hope. I found joy. I was set free. Jesus said in John 7:37-38…
“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”
May you also thirstily drink from the fountain of living water and find soul awakening refreshment by believing in the One who died so that you can live! (see Pop Pop Epistle #52 for a few other thoughts about this living water)
Never forget that you are very loved!