愛 (Ai) means “love.” The top of this character is a person rowing a boat, the middle portion is a heart and the bottom portion is a footstep. All together, this symbolizes the feeling that a boat cannot go fast enough when someone is looking forward to meeting with their loved one.
空 (Sora) means “sky.” This character represents a big cave.
雲 (Kumo) means “cloud.” The top lines represent rain and the bottom represents clouds.
雨 (Ame) means “rain.”
Helen Keller was a fascinating woman who had many deep discussions with her teacher Anne Sullivan.
Keller was born in Alabama in 1880 with no health issues. As a young baby, however, she became seriously ill and lost her eyesight and ability to speak. Though she struggled, she was able to learn how to live with these disabilities and soon graduated from Harvard University.
She traveled the world, sharing her story and inspiring others who lived challenging lives to make the most of their situation and appreciate the blessings they received.
Keller wrote many books surrounding the topics of love and overcoming darkness. She explained that her other senses were heightened since she didn’t have the ability to see or speak. When she shook someone’s hand, she could observe their gender, age, personality and feelings, like an insect probing and exploring the world around them. Her books also cover her discussions with her mentor and teacher Sullivan. Keller asked Sullivan, “What is love?” Sullivan replied that love is like the blessing of rain. It falls on everyone in the world equally and without judgment.
Here are a few messages of life advice that Keller learned and shared with the world while traveling during her lifetime:
• In life, we have the choice to face a challenge with courage or to run from it.
• Face the bright sun always. You do not need to face the dark.
• Blindness can be a sad situation, but what is sadder is when someone can see the world, but not see the truth in it.
• Without suffering, you cannot learn to have a heart of courage and patience.
• You can feel great happiness through helping others.
• Sadness and suffering can grow a resilient flower.
• The world is full of suffering, but it is also full of courageous people who have overcome these challenges.
• Spend your life helping those in need and watch your life become meaningful and important.
• I appreciate my handicaps. It is because of my handicaps that I was able to find myself and understand my purpose in life.
• When people ask me, “How can you enjoy life even with multiple handicaps?” I said, “I am receiving countless blessings from God and I am only missing a few things out of a million. I received the best gift from God — my heart.
Keller was an inspiring figure in Japan during her lifetime and received high awards from the Japanese government. She gave her unconditional love to the people of the world and shared her heart as the rain falls from the sky upon all of us.
Rev. Masato Kawahatsu is a minister at the Konko Church of San Francisco and Konko Center of South San Francisco, who teaches shodo (Japanese calligraphy). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 517-5563. The views expressed in the preceding column are not necessarily those of the Nichi Bei Weekly.