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We Can Do More as published in Home Magazine, (February, 1934)


"We Can Do More"
"Let us carve this thought over the gate of the new year"
by Helen Keller

Over the gate of an ancient castle in France is the motto, "Plus est en vous There is more in you." When those words carved in stone centuries ago were spelled into my hands, my spirit responded eagerly, "True -- true of every one of us."

There are infinite resources and powers within us if we will only search them out. Let us affirm this over and over to ourselves at the beginning of the new year, and keep on until the truth it contains has illumined our minds and quickened our spirits. Then it will indeed be a new year for us.

We are apt to think humbly of ourselves. Too readily we acquiesce in the attitude of those who stand and wait and receive from other hands. We imagine we cannot do anything important because we are not fitted like the great men and women about whom we read.

But if we examine ourselves diligently, we may discover that we possess a talent with which we can create beauty or joy, or assist somebody else to achieve something fine.

The woods would be very silent if no bird sang but those who have prima donna voices. It takes a multitude of little birds to make up the music of the Summer. Likewise it takes a multitude of small accomplishments to make up a rich life.

I repeat, there is more in you than you know. Look into your minds as a naturalist studies a plant, and you may be surprised at what you find.

The heather which covers the hills and moors of Scotland is a very course plant. Yet viewed under a microscope, it proves to be an exquisite thing. Its tiny bells reveal a delicacy of color and tracery upon which one gazes until one loses count of time. One day a scientist met an old highland shepherd and handed him a sprig of heather and a microscope. He peered at the blossoms intently, and was silent. Then, handing back the heather and the instrument, he said, "Ay, man, I wish ye had never shown me that." "Why?" asked the botanist. "Because my rude feet have trodden and broken so many of them.&34;

Even so is it with our minds. What we regard in ourselves as commonplace and uninteresting may have charm and nobility if we look at it through the lens of a strong desire to make the most of the faculties God has given us. It is this desire that unveils capacity.

I am thinking of a woman who began life poor, friendless, uneducated, almost blind. For a long time she thought there was nothing in the world she could do. She said, "I do not know enough to teach. I am too handicapped by imperfect sight to engage in occupations taken up by other girls. I have no talent for music or writing or dramatics." To the few people who thought about her at all her future looked very dark.

Then there came a letter from the father of a deaf blind and mute child in Alabama, inquiring if it were possible to have her taught. The poor, half blind young woman heard the cry of the little spirit in prison and said, "Here am I, send me." Everyone knows the story -- how Anne Sullivan, with the most unpromising equipment, released a child-soul from darkness and let her along the ways of happiness and accomplishment.

There is the story too, of the old miner who was left alone after the gold rush was over. He had come a long way, too late to share in the others' rich strike. He stayed and worked what appeared to be a worn-out vein. And at last he found gold. He believed in the earth's endless possibilities and had profited by his faith.

Truly there is more in us than we dream; for we are parts or shadows of something more intense and greater. We know ourselves only imperfectly. We never fully realize our possibilities, but very near us, touching every one of us, is the Source of all Light, the Sovereign Alchemist who will enable us to transmute the lead of life into gold if we desire it with our whole being, and are willing to work faithfully for its realization.

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