THERE ARE ALWAYS SEVERAL ways to look at a situation.
The old adage is that a pessimist looks at the glass half empty; while the optimist sees the glass as half full. The realist says that there are four ounces of fluid in the glass.
I am a realist.
The community can paint it in many different ways, but the recent Switzerland County Relay for Life event that (so far) has raised about $27,000 – and that is pretty disappointing. It’s not halfway to the desired goal of $58,000 that was set for this community.
Those who have worked on our Relay for Life looked around early on Friday evening and wondered where people were. The count showed about 35 cancer survivors, and the attendance in the Paul Ogle Riverfront wasn’t much greater. As the event kicked off with that first lap, truthfully disappointment permeated the air more than optimism did.
There was a tendency to look around and count who wasn’t there.
And be disappointed.
Those are the pessimists.
There was also an air of excitement for people who have gathered together for more than a decade to spend an evening together to raise money to help fight a disease that has spun their lives and the lives of their loved ones out of control – and has claimed the lives of others.
For them, gathering together to raise money to contribute to the battle against cancer is very, very personal. And, rather than sit in their homes and wish someone would find a cure, they get up, move out, and do something about it.
And, for a night, they bring their lawn chairs and their hopes and dreams and they buy some food and bid on some auction items.
And walk some laps.
They pause with reverence as candles are lit inside of buckets, lighting up the darkness; and the sounds of the reading of the names of those battling cancer and those who are no longer battling cancer ring through the night.
For those there, it’s not about the amounts as it is about the effort.
They are the optimists.
Here’s the realist:
A small group of local, dedicated people came together in the Paul Ogle Riverfront Park and worked on a cause they care about, and so far they’ve raised $27,000.
Question: If someone handed you $27,000 – would you be happy?
The realist sees the money.
Money that will go towards research.
Call me a dreamer, but somewhere ‘out there’ there’s a researcher who is looking for funding to explore research that he or she has been trying to move from theory to reality.
And maybe, just maybe, our $27,000 will put some total over the top; and it will allow that researcher to get full funding.
And maybe, just maybe, that theory will lead to the cure that everyone has been walking all those laps for.
And we won’t have to walk anymore.
So, community: There’s no reason to feel down about the results of our event. Can we do better? Yes, and we should do better.
But we can’t get caught up in what we perceive to be right or wrong in a situation. We have to resist looking at something in just one way.
In the end, a lot of good was done.