How would you like your name to be equated with a derogatory, ridiculed term? If I say, "You're such a Pollyanna," you know just what I mean and it isn't complimentary. The Webster Dictionary describes a Pollyanna as an excessively or persistently optimistic person.
Have you read the 1913 book, Pollyanna, by Eleanor Porter? Pollyanna doesn't deserve her reputation. She is not glib or flippant, but is on a genuine soul-searching hunt for the good in life and she has the confidence that there is good to be found.
Why does Pollyanna have such a bad reputation? She faced disease, death, disappointment and poverty. She didn't have an easy, glossed over life. Yet she kept her faith and trust in a loving God. Her answer to difficulties was always gratitude, even if she had to search deeply for it.
Her minister father, before he died and left her as an orphan, taught her the "glad game, about finding something in everything to be glad about." It was challenged many times, and severely contested when she faced her own debilitating injury. When overwhelmed with discouragement, those around her, whom she had influenced and encouraged, rallied to support and strengthen her. Her glad game became a tool others used to help her regain her own confidence and courage.
The heart of the book conveys a genuine trust and faith in a God of love, and the relevancy of the Bible. The simplicity of her glad game, based on eight hundred rejoicing texts taught by her father, revealed her heart of faith and love.
Hers is not a blind remedy, a cure-all of ignorant bliss, but a genuine trust that God is love and God is good. Even when life is not perfect and ideal and painless. Pollyanna learned the perspective of looking at everything - even the tough - to find the evidence of God's love and His gifts toward her. And she knew they would be there if she looked - really looked. She gave thanks even in the difficult, painful times. Maybe that's why we can't understand her perspective. But we can learn from her. Turns out Pollyanna wasn't so poor after all.