Faith in a Time of Pandemic – Pollyanna’s Glad Game

Faith in a Time of Pandemic – Pollyanna’s Glad Game March 30, 2020

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (I Thessalonians 5:18).

One of our fellow congregants does a daily Glad Game, adapted from the book and movie “Pollyanna.” As you might recall, the Glad Game emerged when Pollyanna, the daughter of missionaries, had expected a doll in the Christmas missionary barrel but nothing arrived except a set of crutches. Obviously, she was disappointed. But her father told her to begin every sentence with “I’m glad that…” This game taught her to see the sunny side of things even in tough times.

After her parents die, eleven year old Pollyanna goes to live with her crotchety aunt, who takes her out of duty not love. But soon Pollyanna’s cheerful and optimistic attitude thaws even her aunt’s wintry spirit.

An example of the Glad Game: when Aunt Polly puts her in a stuffy and bare attic room, she exults at the beautiful view from the high window. When her aunt punishes Pollyanna for being late to dinner by sentencing her to a meal of bread and milk in the kitchen, she thanks her rapturously because she likes bread and milk.

Pollyanna’s robust optimism is tested when she is struck by a car and loses the use of her legs. Her spirits dive when she is told that she may be paralyzed. After that, she lies in bed, unable to find anything to be glad about. In response, the townspeople visit her to tell Pollyanna how much her optimistic spirit changed their. Pollyanna decides she can still be glad that she at least has had her legs. Eventually she walks again, the gift of time, medicine, and an optimistic spirit.

There is a lot to moan about these days. There is a lot to grieve with a growing number of cases and rising death toll and uncertainty about our economy our future. Yet, there are many things to give thanks for – extra time to spend with grandchildren, woods in which to walk, the beautiful beach, social media, friends, books, and above all God’s ever-faithful love.
Take some time to play the Glad Game of gratitude to God. See what happens!

In the midst of life’s challenges, give me a glad and grateful spirit. Let me daily count my blessings and share my gifts with others. Amen.

Bruce Epperly is a Cape Cod pastor, professor, and author of over fifty books, including FAITH IN A TIME OF PANDEMIC.

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