OPINION

Notebook 2: What have we overcome already?

Jeanette Siemens
Pratt Tribune
Jeanette Siemens

"One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar." Helen Keller.

Helen Keller did her best to teach us that we do not have to be able to hear to listen and we do not have to be able to see to have vision. She had every reason to retreat into a life of privacy given the disease that took her eyesight and her hearing. And still, she chose a public life of service to others, to her country, to the world. She was at times controversial in her beliefs and opinions. She learned to speak her convictions against or with all odds depending upon one's perspective. She became an international leader.

She did not consent to creep. She soared. She did not do it alone. She especially had the assistance of her teacher and companion, Anne Sullivan. Today, Miss Keller's and Miss Sullivan's remains are entombed in the National Cathedral. Their spirits continue to inspire generations. They are national treasures.

I can't take credit for any of the above as it comes from a book of quotations and reflections that I keep handy. As I read and then re read it seemed so appropriate for what's happening in our world today. It seems everyone has a lot of difficulty of "listening" to things that are opposite or even just a bit different than what we know and/or believe. Surely our life experiences have taught us that there is not just ONE WAY TO DO THINGS. I know I have said before but I believe listening is truly one of the most useful tools we have in our tool chest and particularly if we listen to actually hear. How often do we "listen" but only while we are planning our response or rebuttal.

Vision is not necessarily what we physically see, but what we can see and dream in our minds for the future. In today's world it often seems many have already made up their minds about something and refuse to see any variation in viewpoints or end result. Some of the most successful things are that way because of combining more than one person's dream or plan.

As my little book, entitled Pauses between the Notes suggests, let's stop and think about the things we have overcome to be who we are today? Who helped along the way? And what would it mean to soar? Let's also reflect on why someone may see a totally different picture than we see and what may have influenced them to see it that way? And does that necessarily make it wrong?