Glad and Gladder

According to the pundits, my candidate didn’t do as well as his opponent during the first TV debate. I was distressed until I decided to play the Glad Game. Now I am encouraged because we will work harder on the election. Pollyanna taught me to trust.

Trust took me a while to learn. But trust and gratitude were two qualities I had to embrace in order to stay sober. It wasn’t quite as simple as Pollyanna made it seem.

When I first got sober, my sponsor wanted me to see the bright side, stay on the sunny side of the street and look for the silver lining. If nothing else, he thought I should be grateful I was sober. I was miserable because I thought I had to repair my life immediately. How could I be happy when my life was a disaster?

Even worse – when he brought up the subject of gratitude, I felt like a naughty 12 year old. That was my age when my mother bought me the book Pollyana because she thought I was a grumpy brat.

In case you don’t know the story, Pollyanna is a poor little orphan who knows the secret of happiness. She’s the daughter of deceased missionaries and comes to a small town in middle America back in the late 1900’s. She converts the whole town to New Thought only she calls it teaching everyone the glad game.

Pollyanna (and my sponsor and my mother) all agreed that no matter what is going on, you can always find something to be glad for. One example was the time when she wanted a doll and the missionary barrel contained a pair of crutches. Obviously, she couldn’t be glad for the crutches but, she could be glad she didn’t have to use them.

The glad game actually is the secret of joy. I started practicing it a bit late but I am now a true believer. Very early, when I balked, I was told that if I couldn’t be thankful for my current life, I should give thanks for the good that was going to come out of today’s problems.

Over the years, I’ve applied that technique to many of my own issues and also helped other people use gladness and gratitude in their lives. I have found applying gratitude in this manner has always worked. Even though I wasn’t always able to reorganize life exactly as I wanted, in retrospect, I have seen things turn out extremely well.

Sometimes playing the glad game improved outside conditions as though it was a miracle method. Sometimes the results were on the inner level. People found peace of mind, a shift in understanding or some other invisible benefit. Sometimes the desired results worked in surprising and unusual ways.

Here is a true story from AA. It is, as my mother used to say, “as funny as a crutch”.

Speaking of crutches… A speaker in a meeting was on crutches because she fell off a bar stool and broke her leg. She spoke about how very grateful she was. Seems her broken leg was the direct cause of her decision to get sober.

My second story is personal.  Once, I wanted a job on a Sunday newspaper very, very much. I was consistently writing free lance for them and they consistently hired a younger man. I was despondent, desperate and angry. Then I remembered to practice the glad game and I began to look at a wider field of opportunity. That worked so well it seemed like magic.

Thank God I didn’t get the job writing for that pokey little Sunday newspaper. Instead, I made contacts in New York and built an exciting career that landed me on the NY Times best seller list for months. I wrote 80 books for young people during the next ten years. It all happened because I decided to be glad for new opportunities.

The glad game is a great deal like affirmative prayer or spiritual mind treatment, isn’t it?  We always end our prayers by giving thanks. We thank God for the  good that is coming even before we see it. It isn’t too much of a stretch to say that our thanksgiving step in affirmative prayer is playing the glad game.

Our New Thought religion is one of joy, gladness and gratitude and we praise life. Joy is a wonderful part of our religious experience. You and I and Pollyanna all sprinkle glad game dust wherever we go.

According to Pollyanna, there are over 800 verses in the Bible that praise God and call for joy. I haven’t counted and she is stuck permanently at age twelve so I’m not absolutely certain about the number. I do know there are plenty jumping for joy verses in the good book.

The Old Testament, especially the Psalms, tells us to sing a new song; to play skillfully with a shout of joy, to jump for joy, and to generally create an uproar. We jump, we dance, we sing, we shout for joy. It’s all good!

It isn’t just Pollyanna or the Bible that teaches us how to be joyful. Tips on how to build more joy into your life come from everywhere. From Pollyanna, you’ve learned to play the glad game. Thank you, Polly dear. From the lady with the broken leg, you’ve learned to be thankful for the good that comes out of trouble. Thank you, dear lady on crutches.

There are plenty of other glad game teachers. Melody Beattie says, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, and confusion to clarity… Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Dr. Dennis Merrit Jones writes, “If we look deeply enough, we will find blessings even in things and events that on the surface we might tend to judge as negative. In the process, notice your glass is getting fuller.” Thank you dear Dr. Dennis.

The Buddhist Monk. Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Give thanks, even for your non-toothache.” Do you have a roof over your head and did you have a meal today? Are there people in your life that care about you and whom you love deeply? Do you live in a country where you are free and able to practice whatever religion you choose? I’m sure you get the idea.” Thank you dear Tich Nhat Han.

The glad game is all about changing our thinking so we make room for joy and happiness. It sets up the Law of Attraction and brings us more good. We remember that joy is our birthright.

You and I joyfully live in gratitude as we daily play the glad game. If we want to learn more, we start by making a list of the things we enjoy that we have at hand. We can also give thanks in advance for the things that are coming.

Adding to that gratitude list is a part of our spiritual practice and it brings great joy. The things we discover that make us happy are personal, deep and true. They may also be quite simple. We always leave room for discovery of more joy. We never let the to-do list rob us of ecstasy.

Ask Yourself

What makes me sing a joyful song?

What makes me jump for joy?

What do I choose to put on my gratitude list?

What future good am I glad for?

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4 Comments on “Glad and Gladder”

  1. Sally Carroll says:

    Thank you for the inspiration… No matter how my day plays out I write a gratitude list. This practice always casts positivity in reflection… I am grateful for your insight.

  2. Rev. Sally Robbins says:

    Dear Jane,

    Excellent piece! There’s a sermon or two in this one…

    Thank you for your beautiful writing.

    Love and blessings,

    Sally

    Rev. Sally Robbins

    Columbia Center for Spiritual Living

    Columbia, Maryland

  3. Another winner Dr Jane! I will use some of this in my blog and point folk to your blog postings. Thank you for helping me keep it all in perspective. Now I need to rent the movie, or read the book again.


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