If I could thrust one gift onto all of mankind, it would be perspective.
I'm not running for Miss America, or president, but if you asked me what I want most for the world, it isn't peace, or to end world hunger. It's perspective. Because perspective makes all the difference in the world.
I'm sitting in the Boston Logan airport. Behind me a man is on the phone trying forcefully to explain to someone who works for him what a bad idea it is for him to go on vacation. "You leave and the work doesn't stop … the phones keep ringing … what are we supposed to do? Let management talk to customers??? That's the LAST thing we need."
I'm sure the person who works for him disagrees. On many, many levels.
It's a matter of perspective.
Sitting together on the other end of the gate area is a family. I've caught bits and pieces of their conversation. They were up early. The husband and wife are both very tired. The two kids, however, had a bowl of speed for breakfast. They aren't bad kids. They are very well behaved. But they are loud. They've forgotten the whole idea of an inside voice. And as the husband and wife sit leaning on their elbows and on each other trying to remember the reasons why procreating seemed like such a good idea and probably calculating the amount of hours left until they are either home and back in their routine or until the children are 18 and can legally be kicked out, one of their kids says sweetly and excitedly, "Hey! I've got an idea for you guys that would be really roooomantic! Since you're both so tired, why don't you lay down, together, on the floor here!!"
Um, that's one perspective.
This past weekend at the Boston Breast Cancer 3 Day it rained. Oh goodness did it rain. Like sky open up, buckets pour down, cats and dogs, deluge rain. And it didn't stop raining. Hours and hours this rain fell and while it fell 1,950 people walked and walked and walked. They covered themselves in raingear. They sloshed through puddles. They squeaked and smushed for 20 miles. And when they got to camp they learned that the forecast called for lightning which meant one thing … they couldn't sleep out in their tents, they had to be relocated. All 1,950 of them had to squeeze inside a middle school and sleep wherever they could. In the gym, in the hallways, between shelves of books in the library. Because of limited space, they couldn't bring their gear bags in with them. Those had to stay outside. So they had limited comforts. A few had flimsy blow up swimming pool air mattresses. Many didn't. Not exactly the experience they signed up or hoped for.
Saturday morning they left camp to walk yet another 20 miles. They left camp in wet sneakers. They left camp in soggy socks and musty damp ponchos stuffed in their packs. They left camp and hit the sidewalks. Step after step after step. As I walked and sat and talked with them, I said over and over again how sorry I was they had such a miserable night. I told them I knew it was less than ideal for them. I apologized for the weather - telling them after all their hard work in raising MILLIONS of dollars it was such a shame they had to be so very uncomfortable. A few here and there agreed. They were, indeed, miserable. A few let me know just how very disappointed they were. A few told me how things should have been done differently. However, for each person who told me something negative there were a hundred who said …
"It was great!"
"We had a blast last night!"
"Nothing is better than a good story to tell!"
And there was one man who said with righteous anger and tears in his eyes,
"Look, I watched my wife lose her breasts, her dignity, her health and finally her life … do you think I give a shit if I spend one uncomfortable night in a school? No way. Not if it will make a difference. I'll do it every day. EVERY DAY if it would keep just one family from going through what we've gone through."
The 1,950 walkers and 300 crew members of the Boston Breast Cancer 3 Day raised 5.1 million dollars. I hope, for the sake of all those soggy shoes and amazing attitudes that they were the ones who raised the dollar that will find the cure. It won't bring back that man's wife. It won't bring back my friend, Linda. It won't bring back the millions who have been lost. But it might save me, or The Kid, or the woman who was diagnosed in the 3 minutes it took you to read this post.
It might save her.