Annie & Helen… Your Life Matters
Simple acts of kindness can change someone’s entire world. Too often today, we think we do not matter. We believe the lie that, we are too broken, poor or “beyond redemption” to matter. Your life matters more that you can even begin to imagine.
I wanted to share the following excerpt from the book – Your Life Matters. It shows power of one person and a simple act of kindness and how it changed the world.
I learned a lot from Granny’s tales. She told me a story she heard while she was in nurse training. It was about a nurse and a little girl.
The little girl, Annie, had been diagnosed as hopelessly insane. They locked her up in the dungeon of a mental institution on the outskirts of Boston, Massachusetts. People said that this young girl was so far gone that there were times when she acted like a wild animal. She would attack anyone who dared to come close to her. They labeled her Crazy Annie.
Other times, Annie would be completely catatonic and wouldn’t recognize anything. She sat, staring at the walls for days on end. No one knew of a treatment plan or had any hope that Crazy Annie would ever get better. They had locked her up and thrown away the key.
But an elderly nurse, a woman of faith, believed God could do what modern medicine could not. She believed and had hope for all of God’s children and Little Annie was one of them.
So, she started with taking the long trek down to the dungeon every day to eat her lunch outside of Little Annie’s cage. The nurse had a deep desire to communicate her love for Annie as well as God’s love for the girl, but she didn’t know how to reach her. She only knew she had to go.
Each day, she ate her lunch beside Annie’s cage and talked to Annie with no response. Some days she sang for her, but Annie didn’t respond to that either. One day, the nurse left her dessert, a chocolate brownie, beside Annie’s cage.
Annie didn’t acknowledge the brownie beside her while the nurse remained, but when the nurse came back the next day, the brownie was gone. Every Thursday, the nurse would bring her dessert and leave it for Annie. When she returned the next day, it would be gone.
Something began to change through these simple acts of love and kindness that no one could explain. After several weeks passed, doctors noticed small improvements in Annie. Then, after a few months, the improvements were so profound, they transferred her out of the cage and moved her upstairs into a lower level of security. Eventually, the staff allowed her to be among the general population.
Finally, one day the doctors told the formerly hopelessly insane Little Annie she was well and could go home. However, she didn’t want to go. She wanted to stay and help others who were diagnosed as she had been.
You may recognize her name. Annie Sullivan. The same woman who later helped Helen Keller walk out of her darkness and into the light of a future. Helen and Annie inspired generations of people.