Thursday, May 23, 2013


We finished reading Pollyanna, by Eleanor H. Porter, aloud, together, again. It is one of my pet peeves that this book has become a tool to make fun of those who attempt to keep a heart of gratefulness. Her name has become associated with the definition, "an excessively or persistently optimistic person" (Webster). Is that really a bad thing?

One friend of mine wouldn't allow her children to read the book because she said it made fun of church. Well, yes, it does make fun of the Ladies' Aid Society and their bickering and fussing about new red carpets and their ultimate concern in having their name at the top of the donation list. Yes, it does poke at actions done for the sake of righteous duty without a heart of love. At its core, this book is deeply Christian, about the love of Christ and His heart of love reaching out to each of us.

Pollyanna, with her childlike heart, only sees the love and beauty in those around her. She hangs prisms in windows to splash rainbows across the walls. She fixes up a sick woman's hair and adds a flower to make her pretty. She connects with people she meets, talking openly and making friends with those considered unfriendly. She bounces from one home to another, spreading laughter and joy and gladness. With her sunny smile she laughs and talks her way through the days and into the hearts of the townspeople.

Not because her life is simplistic and easy. Orphaned. Sent across country to be dumped on the doorstep of an unwilling aunt. Of the scanty possessions she brings, the most important is The Glad Game. Her father, a missionary pastor in the west, taught it to her before he died, and together they sought to have a perspective of gratefulness no matter what happened. He told her that he found eight hundred "rejoicing" verses in the Bible, and that if the Lord told us that many times to be glad, He must have wanted us to listen.

From her perspective, all is good. She never questions that her aunt doesn't want her. She never doubts that he aunt's generosity won't extend to cats, dogs and little orphan boys.

The test of Pollyanna's Glad Game came when she herself was bedridden. She cried as she learned she was paralyzed, "...if I can't walk, how am I ever going to be glad for - anything?"

The friendships, the connections she made, the lives she touched, all came together to encourage her and open an opportunity for her healing, and for the healing of other strained relationships. Because of her bubbly enthusiasm, even in (especially in) tough circumstances, homes were restored, families strengthened and hearts encouraged.

"...he told me to tell you that he hadn't stopped being glad over those eight hundred rejoicing texts that you told him about. So you see, dear, it's just you that have done it. The whole town is playing the game, and the whole town is wonderfully happier - and all because of one little girl who taught the people a new game and how to play it."

Need some encouragement? Read Pollyanna. She'll make you smile. Maybe even glad.

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