We recently had a weekend visit from our granddaughters. At one point, there was a drinking glass on the counter. One of the girls pointed out that the glass was half empty while the other said it was half full.

Some people might say there are two viewpoints possible in this situation, but in fact there are three. The first group looks at a glass and sees it half full. The second sees the glass half empty – and the third doesn’t see the glass at all and only laments the lack of water.

How we view the glass may determine how we see our lives.

One only needs to look at the events in Haiti to see that people react to events in very different ways. The loss of life of family and friends was overwhelming. The personal injuries suffered by many would be enough to cause one to look at things as ”half empty” at best, or more likely, to decline to see anything positive at all.

Yet many who were interviewed indicated that they would pick up the pieces and move on. Was there any other choice? What cruel test was Nature inflicting upon this country, a place that appeared to have so little to begin with? But for many, the glass remained half full.

Each day we are bombarded with news and pictures of horror and tragedy. At least once a week I threaten to stop delivery of the newspaper or refuse to turn on CNN, my personal attempt to lessen the onslaught of the bad and the ugly. No good here!

Is the influence of the media what has determined our view of the half full/half empty glass?

Human nature being what it is, it is not too long before I pick up the paper or turn on the television to get my daily dose of world events. Every once in a while, tucked quietly between the stories of disaster and pain, is a story of hope and joy.

So we have the optimists and the pessimists. The optimist will tell you the glass is half full.

The pessimist will tell you it is half empty. The person who doesn’t see the glass at all is just angry or in despair, and can tell you nothing.

It is interesting that in all avenues life is made up of checks and balances.

Whether it is Nature at work or the way we think, people will see things differently, and that may not be a bad thing.

Out of a ”give and take” situation may emerge something far better.

It is encouraging that despite differing views, there are times when most of us come together for a greater good. It is too bad, however, that it has to be a Katrina or a Haiti or other natural disaster that provides the motivation.

But maybe the important lesson is that we keep our eye on the glass.