I discovered “The Wind at My Back” a fiction cable program based on the 1930’s depression era. In a recent episode, Grace, a glass-half-full kind of gal is told to keep her feet on the ground, think level-headed and get her head out of the clouds and stop dreaming. Another name for Grace could be Pollyana; Grace believes in other people and dreams. We all need a Grace, a Pollyana, in our lives.
“No one has ever accused me of being a Pollyanna”. The environment I grew up within discouraged Pollyannaism. Little-by-little the wide-eyed innocent girl was lost; being a dreamer is simply not practical and will get you know where. Or will it?
Definition: Pollyanna – an excessively cheerful or optimistic person – a person characterized by irrepressible optimism and a tendency to find good in everything– Pollyannaish – unreasonably or illogically optimistic. Who gets to decide when a person is too cheerful or too optimistic; what’s wrong with irrepressible optimism? It seems to me a Pollyanna is simply a dreamer or visionary whose illogical optimism has not found success. I couldn’t help but wonder if Edison was an irrepressible optimist, when time-after-time the light bulb idea failed; or the Wright Brothers, Marconi, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa and the list could go on-and-on. I suspect all at one time or another may have been considered irrepressible and illogically optimistic. Each possessed dreams. Each had a vision. Each one optimistically believed those dreams would one day come to fruition.
In the Disney movie, Pollyanna, where the term Pollyannaism originates, her father, a preacher states he had found over eight-hundred Bible verses which tell us to be glad. Her father felt if the Lord took the trouble to tell us 800 times to rejoice, then He must really mean it. A fan of the movie would most likely remember the glad game. In the “Glad Game” one looks for reasons to be glad regarding everything (a wee bit challenging) which comes their way. Remember the example in the movie? Pollyanna explains the Glad Game to the family’s servants, this way they may play the game as well. Everyone has just come from an all too often preached hell-fire and brimstone sermon. The gladdest thing they can say regarding the sermon, “Glad that it will be six more days before we have to sit through another one”! We can all find something.
Pollyanna’s philosophy and the desire of God’s heart which says, “Rejoice and be glad”, simply go together like milk and cookies. We can choose sourpusses or we can choose gladness. We can choose to cultivate a heart which rejoices; one that looks for the glad in every day and in every situation which comes our way.
Ready to play the Glad Game? Just call me “Pollyanna”.
Until next time – Be encouraged!
This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 188:24