When I was a child, one of my favorite movies was PollyAnna. For this little five year old, there was so much to love about that movie. If you don’t know the story, a young girl named PollyAnna goes to live with her wealthy Aunt, after her parents pass away. She has such a beautiful spirit, she is fascinated by everything, adults like and listen to her, she is faith-filled and in the course of her life, influences all of those she meets. I remember wanting to be just like PollyAnna when I was a child.
While I was looking for a movie to watch the other night, I was delighted to see PollyAnna appear on my list. So, of course, I watched it. When PollyAnna sees rainbows on the wall, reflections of light from the prisms in the chandelier, I gasped, the memories of that scene struck me so vividly and deeply. I remember looking at the light through all sorts of different shaped glass, likewise being fascinated by how it worked. I remember loving how brave PollyAnna was as she explored prisms at the home of someone who was seen as the town curmudgeon. The inquisitiveness of little PollyAnna along with her joy at something so simple as rainbows on the wall was lovely to revisit. Her ability to get even the curmudgeon to laugh with her in delight was compelling.
The movie has stayed with me this past week and I have been reflecting on it quite a bit. First of all, why is being a “PollyAnna” considered a “bad” thing these days? It used to be beautiful. But, now, how many times do we (ok, me) hear “Don’t be such a PollyAnna”. How did we as a society go from appreciating a young girl full of energy, faith, love and light to a society that sees it as a bad thing if you find the good in other people or situations? As I reflect on the movie, I think it says a lot about who we are today as a society, that being a PollyAnna is bad.
I don’t know about you, but I much prefer the PollyAnna world. The world where we find good in others, even the curmudgeons. The world where we are delighted with the light of the world, especially the rainbow prisms on our walls. The world that starts with faith and love, not darkness. The world that appreciates the joy that comes through a child’s eyes.
That is not to say that PollyAnna did not have her share of heartache. In fact, she had an enormous amount of sadness in her life. However, the darkness and the sadness did not define her, she did not allow it to do so. In the movie, she describes to the adults around her the “glad game”. The glad game is rather simple, no matter what goes on in life, no matter how difficult or sad, find one thing to be glad about.
As we prepare to say goodbye to 2020, we will do it in a very different way. Perhaps a small family gathering or a Zoom News Year Eve party will be the way you celebrate. Let me invite you to play the glad game this New Year’s Eve. It has been a tough year, but can you find one thing to be glad about? I’ll start…I am glad that in the quiet of this year I have had more time for prayer and writing.
What if our New Year’s resolution was as simple as playing the glad game when things got tough and finding the good in our lives each step of the way? Call me a PollyAnna, but that is my goal for 2021.