Occasion: Loving life as a Free Man
" Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." --Helen Keller
"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched--they must be felt within the heart." --Helen Keller
"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved."
Life is about creating yourself. A better me. A better you. Day by beautiful day. Until we get what we want out of life. The type of life that we envision for ourselves. Not what someone else envisions for us, but what you envision for yourself. What I envision for myself. A meaningful life that leaves our legacy behind, once we pass on, inside of the people we love, and the people we came in contact with. Also in the things that we create, through our God-given gifts and talents. Creations that we leave behind in the form of words, pictures, songs, art, businesses, organizations, worthy causes, and so forth.
I find it astounding--and nothing short of a miracle--that a woman, Helen Keller, who was both deaf and blind, was not only so full of life but was also able to articulate the details of life so well--a life, mind you, that she never saw with her eyes nor heard with her ears--into captivating, vividly descriptive words. Her so called "handicap" become her strength because it brought out the best in her. It was an adventure and a daily challenge for her to live a "normal" life without having two of her main senses, much less an exceptionally successful life, which she did. She wrote her name into the history books. I know my sociology teacher is reading this(smile). So what do think Tina? I think it's safe to safe that Helen Keller reached the Self-Actualization stage, the highest stage in Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory.
What Helen did not have in not having her eyesight and hearing, she made up for, abundantly, in her writing of essays, short stories, and books. She was able to look at the beautiful details of life intently and deeply through the lens of her writing. Did you know that Helen Keller was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelors of Arts degree? And she didn't attend just any university. Helen attended the oldest, and arguably the most prestigious university in the United States: Harvard. Yeah. She did that. We all know it's not easy to get accepted into Harvard. There are fully functional people with taking-for-granted access to all 5 of their senses that will not accomplish even a fraction of what Helen Keller did.
When I doubt myself and think that I'm not capable of accomplishing something, all I have to do is think about her miraculous, hardwork boot-strap story and the adventurous, illustrious life she lived--in spite of being deaf-blind--and my doubts and excuses are eliminated.
Some of my favorite quotes (reading and memorizing inspiring quotes is one of my hobbies) came from the fertile mind, lips, and pen of one Helen Keller. If a woman, who was both deaf and blind, could live and enjoy life to the fullest--and I mean the fullest, Google Helen Keller--then why can't I? Why can't you? She didn't let her deaf-blind condition hold her back, so I'm not going to let my lengthy wrongful, unjust incarceration hold me back.
When something precious in life is taken away from us, or we never have it to begin with, as in the case Helen Keller's deaf-blind condition, we appreciate it even more. I had my freedom, and then one day--poof--it was suddenly taken away from me at the age of 17. When I was wrongly arrested on that unforgettable night in 1995, I had no way of knowing--wouldn't of believed it if Moses told me--that I wouldn't see freedom again for 23 years. I was wrongly imprisoned for a crime I did NOT commit, and deprived of my natural freedom and forced to live in a tiny 6' by 11' cell....FOR OVER TWO DECADES! My unjust incarceration was my handicap. My blindness. My deafness. All of my youthful years--20's and 30's--were taken away from me. However, my adversity made me look more inwardly, within myself and in God, and over time, I was able to discover a new me and a new freedom. An inner freedom. A limitless freedom that the "system" could not take away from me. The freedom of my spirit, my mind, creativity, writing, music, my attitude, education.....everything.
As you all know, I have recently regained my physical freedom. The past 43 days of my new life as a free man have been amazing. And it's the simplest things that I find fun, exciting and incredible. Time for another Helen Keller quote (smile): "To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug." As I transition to living life as a free man, with a transformed perspective and a new belief system that was created and shaped over 23 years in a prison cell, it's as if I'm seeing and hearing life for the first time. I never knew life was so beautiful. Adversity can bring out the best in us. As it did me and as it did for Helen Keller. My newfound freedom and new lease on life makes me wonder how much greater Helen Keller's life and legacy would have been had she regained her eyesight and hearing after 23 years. If she had the same second chance that I've been given. I feel so blessed and grateful. And so should you. Even if everything isn't going our way (I want to be exonerated), and when we want it to and how we want it to, we are so blessed. Beyond measure. The sad thing is some people are to blind to see how blessed they really are and the most that life has to offer them. 143