Least I cause another uproar here, let me make it perfectly clear I am not endorsing “Pollyanna” as a theological treatise, a declaration of doctrine, or a Divine extra-biblical revelation. In fact, I shall once again put “Christian book” in quotation marks, as I always do.
That paragraph above was pure sarcasm. Obviously I have not given up sarcasm for Lent. Or changed my rotten disposition one bit. The “Christian book” part however, is genuine. I honestly know of only one book I am wholly comfortable endorsing as a Christian book, the bible.
And it better be the King James Version too, the very version Jesus Christ Himself used! That’s just a corny joke, people. King James and the Church of England didn’t begin translating until 1604. Spread the word.
Back to Pollyanna however, Eleanor Porter, 1913, one of my favorite books as a child, one that has stayed with me for about 40 years now, one that still impacts me today. Yep, you caught me, I still play the “glad game.” I loved the tale so much I named my daughter Pollyanna.
For those who don’t know the story, Pollyanna is an orphan taken in by her Aunt who is cold, stern, and doesn’t really want her. Pollyanna’s entire life philosophy is all about playing the glad game and her sunny disposition soon brings joy to a depressed New England town.
The glad game is not quite as simple as it seems, for example, when Polly is late for dinner her aunt punishes her by making her go eat bread and milk in the kitchen with Nancy,the maid. And Pollyanna says something along the lines of, “Thank you so much! I love milk and bread and Nancy’s company!”
Now take that skill out into the grown up world and have some fun with it. Seriously, I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of that one. Having a cheery, thankful disposition doesn’t just encourage all the right people, it also tends to annoy all the wrong ones, too. It’s like a gift within a gift.
Recently our Pastor wrote a list of interesting things to give up for Lent. I just loved the list! He hit on some great ideas and made me laugh. Giving up sarcasm, now that’s a good one, but I have little hope of ever making it 40 days. “Murmuring” really cracked me up. Yes indeed, giving up murmuring is fabulous. Ha! Especially for the Pastor. And he mentioned my very favorite tale, Pollyanna. Triple word score for that one!
So, a while back I was quite prepared to give up sugar for Lent, when God surprised me by saying “no.” (Don’t panic folks, there’s nothing extra-biblical about that. My issues with sugar are not a matter of theology or contrary to doctrine.) I was just praying and listening when God said, “No, not that,” quite clearly.
He said, “I want you to give up something else instead.” I won’t bother with all the details, but He confirmed what he was saying in a couple of different ways and then He showed me Psalm 139:14-15 ” I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.”
He wanted me to stop apologizing for being real. I do that you know, not as much in the blogging world, but frequently on the ground. And if I don’t actually apologize for being real, I often feel as if I should and sometimes I just avoid being real entirely so as not to offend anyone.
How do I know God was right? Because God is always right, but also because since making that promise I have been challenged at least 2o times a day to apologize for who and what I am, for those moments of honesty when I share my soul. I never saw the problem quite so clearly before, but I now cling to those beautiful words, “My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.”
….and that my soul knoweth right well.