Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

As a young girl I read Pollyanna because I was told too, I was also made to watch the television drama based on the book. What did I get out of the experience? A pile of questions that couldn’t be answered about screenplays and books. Why did they leave this bit out? That wasn’t in the book!

I read as a perfunctory exercise, there was no joy in it, satisfaction in getting to the end, ticking off another book that I had read, yes I had those, but enjoying the content of the book, no.

It made little sense, it makes no sense to me now. I had always intended to write, from a very early age, so what was it about these children’s books: Pollyanna, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, What Katy Did etc. etc. that I couldn’t connect with?

A number of things but mostly joy. They were happy in their circumstances, orphaned, punished, whatever happened to them they had joy. I couldn’t understand it, I didn’t know what joy was, I thought it was just another word for happy.

I have learned much since then about happiness and joy. Happiness is transient, it comes and goes, being happy involves the interaction of something else; a person, an object, something. Joy is deep, as deep as faith, joy allows you “face tomorrow” no matter what it might. Joy allows you to sit in situations and have peace that others would find difficult. 

Joy is only found in God, following him allows us to be thank full, praise full, worship full, prayer full – no matter what is going on in our lives, the focus, the central core is Christ. Keeping our focus on him allows us to appreciate the small things when the big things are hard.

So like Pollyanna and the crutches, I am glad, ignoring all the hard work involved in next week’s trip, I am glad I am going, I am glad I get to spend time with one of my heroes and I am glad to be alive, alive in body, alive in spirit, alive in mind, most of all the reason I am alive, I am so glad I am alive in Christ.

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