|--by Zig Ziglar
A number of years ago, in a mental institution just outside Boston, Mass., a young girl known as "Little Annie" was locked in the dungeon. This institution was one of the more enlightened ones for the treatment of the mentally disturbed. However the doctors felt that a dungeon was the only place for those who were "hopelessly" insane. In Little Annie's case, they saw no hope for her, so she was consigned to a living death in that small cage which received little light and even less hope.
About that time, an elderly nurse in the institution was nearing retirement. She felt there was hope for all of God's creatures, so she started taking her lunch into the dungeon and eating outside Little Annie's cage. She felt perhaps she could communicate some love and hope to the little girl.
In many ways, Little Annie was like an animal. On occasions, she would violently attack the person who came into her cage. At other times, she would completely ignore them. When the elderly nurse started visiting her, Little Annie gave no indication that she was aware of her presence. One day, the elderly nurse brought some brownies to the dungeon and left them outside the cage. Little Annie gave no hint she knew they were there, but when the nurse returned the following day, the brownies were gone.
From that time on, the nurse would bring brownies when she made her Thursday visit.Soon, the doctors in the institution noticed a change was taking place. After a period of time, they decided to move Little Annie upstairs. Finally, the day came when this "hopeless case" was told she could return home. But Little Annie didn't wish to leave. The place had meant so much to her she felt she could make a contribution if she stayed and worked with the other patients. The elderly nurse had seen and brought out so much in her life that Little Annie felt she could see and help develop something in others.
Many years later, Queen Victoria of England, while pinning England's highest award on a foreigner, asked Helen Keller, "How do you account for your remarkable accomplishments in life? How do you explain the fact that even though you were both blind and deaf, you were able to accomplish so much?" Without a moment's hesitation, Helen Keller said that had it not been for Anne Sullivan (Little Annie), the name of Helen Keller would have remained unknown.
It's not too well known, but Helen Keller was a normal, healthy baby before some mysterious disease left her almost helpless and hopeless. Anne Sullivan saw Helen Keller as one of God's very special people--treated her as she saw her--loved her--disciplined her--played, prayed, pushed and worked with her until the flickering candle that was her life became a beacon that helped light the pathways and lighten the burdens of people all over the world. Yes, Helen Keller influenced millions after her own life was touched by "Little? Annie".
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Updated Sept. 05, 2006