I’ve been reading The World I Live In + Optimism: A Collection of Essays by Helen Keller. Her writing is powerfully frank and fiery, but also remarkably humble and full of wonder. One of my favorite passages is from Part One of her Optimism essays, “Optimism Within,” which reads:
Most people measure their happiness in terms of physical pleasure and material possession. Could they win some visible goal which they have set on the horizon, how happy they would be! Lacking this gift or that circumstance, they would be miserable! If happiness is to be so measured, I who cannot hear or see have every reason to sit in a corner with folded hands and weep. If I am happy in spite of my deprivations, if my happiness is so deep that it is a faith, so thoughtful that it becomes a philosophy of life, — if, in short, I am an optimist, my testimony to the creed of optimism is worth hearing. As sinners stand up in meeting and testify to the goodness of God, so one who is called afflicted may rise up in gladness of conviction and testify to the goodness of life.
Can I get an amen?! :)
(Dover Publications, New York; originally published 1903 + 1908, new edition 2009; ISBN 978-0-486-47367-3)