Sign-up for free e-newsletter

Viewpoint from Helen Farman 17/05/2013


Helen Farman
Light of Life Baptist Church, Ormesby

Dove rightIsn’t it strange how something, seemingly ordinary, can grab your attention and fascinate you – such as sugar packets!

Last year, while in South Africa visiting our daughter, my husband and I sat enjoying a cup of coffee one day in a small café in the middle of nowhere. He pointed out the sugar packets on the table. On each one was an inspirational saying, proverb or quote from a famous person. I was hooked. For the rest of the trip I was fixated with sugar packets and wrote down all the phrases on them!

Looking at those words again recently, I was struck by a quote from Helen Keller. “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” How thought-provoking. Helen Keller, born in 1880, fell ill when she was eighteen months old and was struck blind, deaf and mute. At six years old she was described as less than an animal, wild and unruly. She suffered, yet through the work of a dedicated teacher and her own persistence, she learned to communicate. It took twenty five years for her to learn to speak so that others could understand her. During her remarkable life, Helen Keller stood as a powerful example of how determination, hard work, and imagination can allow an individual to triumph over adversity

dove leftShe is not alone in this. Who do the following descriptions refer to?

 “His fiancé died; he failed in business, had a nervous breakdown and was defeated in eight elections” Abraham Lincoln;

“He wasn’t able to speak until he was almost four years old and his teacher said he would never amount to much”  Albert Einstein

There are many examples of people who succeeded against the odds

Jesus was born in poverty, grew up in an ordinary home, preached God’s love and grace and, as a result, was hated by the authorities, tortured, crucified and buried in someone else’s tomb. Do we ever imagine he felt like giving up? But he didn’t and the whole world has become a different place in ways no one could ever imagine. His devoted follower, Paul, didn’t get away lightly either. He wrote to a church and said, ”Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten by rods, once I was stoned, three times shipwrecked. I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food.” And the list goes on. He ends with these amazing words. “For Christ’s sake I delight in weakness and hardship”

We all know what it is to suffer in life and stories of ‘overcoming’ enrich and inspire us into believing that there is more to our lives than we have already experienced


During her life Helen Keller quoted a Maori proverb which may bless us too. “Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you”


Bertie (Guest) 20/05/2013 11:51
Thanks Helen, you have made my day with your encouraging Viewpoint article. And yes, those sugar sachets are great, I love reading them when I go to SA.