Thursday, April 17, 2014

Why is This Night Different from All Other Nights?

Earlier this week, in countless Jewish homes, at countless Seders, the youngest son, or, if there was no son, the youngest daughter, (not counting babies, of course!) asked the traditional Four Questions, beginning
"Why is this night different from all other nights?"

(In my family, I was the one who asked those Questions.)
And now, for me, as a Jewish convert to Catholicism, these words have an even deeper meaning as a foreshadowing of the night of the Last Supper... the night on which Our Lord instituted the Eucharist. 

The Gratitude Attitude Game

For those unfamiliar with the Pollyanna books and/or movies, the idea of the "Glad Game"
is to find something to be glad about when things go wrong,
or if you don't like the situation you are in. And that is both the premise of, and the problem with,
the Glad Game. Something has to go wrong before you can play!

Pollyanna herself points this out in Pollyanna Grows Up.
"Always, before, there have been bad things for folks to play the game on, and the badder they are
the more fun 'tis to get them out-find the things to be glad for, I mean. But where there aren't any
bad things, I shouldn't know how to play the game myself."

Well, I decided to take the game one step further, and to start looking, not for reasons to be glad, but for
reasons to be thankful. That way, I don't have to wait for something to go wrong before I can play!

I approach this game from two angles, depending on whether something is good or bad...
or perhaps I should say whether I like or dislike it. I may think something is bad, but God
knows that it is really good.
If it's something I don't like, I try to find something in it to be thankful for. I admit that sometimes
all I can say is, "Thank You, God, for whatever good You have planned for me through this."

As for the good things, it's not so much a matter of LOOKING for them as it is NOTICING them.

Throwback Thursday

Originally posted on October 1, 2010

Jolly Book

In Pollyanna Grows Up, by Eleanor H. Porter, Pollyanna goes to Boston and meets a boy named Jamie. Jamie is in a wheelchair, and has a book he calls his "Jolly Book".

"But you haven't told me yet about-the Jolly Book," prompted Pollyanna, after a minute.
The boy stirred and laughed shamefacedly.
" Well, you see, it ain't much, after all, except to me. You wouldn't see much in it. I started it a year ago. I was feelin' 'specially bad that day. Nothin' was right. For a while I grumped it out, just thinkin'; and then I picked tip one of father's books and tried to read. And the first thing I see was this: I learned it afterwards, so I can say it now.

   'Pleasures lie thickest where no pleasures seem;
    There's not a leaf that falls upon the ground
    But holds some joy, of silence or of sound."

"Well, I was mad. I wished I could put the guy that wrote that in my place, and see what kind of joy
he'd find in my 'leaves.' I was so mad I made up my mind I'd prove he didn't know what he was talkin' about, so I begun to hunt for 'em-the joys in my 'leaves,' you know. I took a little old empty notebook that Jerry had given me, and I said to myself that I'd write 'em down. Everythin' that had anythin' about it that I liked I'd put down in the book. Then I'd just show how many ' joys' I had."
" Yes, yes! " cried Pollyanna, absorbedly, as the boy paused for breath.
" Well, I didn't expect to get many, but-do you know?-I got a lot. There was somethin' about 'most everythin' that I liked a little, so in it had to go. The very first one was the book itself-that I'd got it, you know, to write in. Then somebody give me a flower in a pot, and Jerry found a dandy book in the subway. After that it was really fun to hunt 'em out-I'd find 'em in such queer places, sometimes. Then one day Jerry got hold of the little notebook, and found out what 'twas. Then he give it its name-the Jolly Book. And-and that's all."
Pollyanna, of course, is delighted.
I've been thinking about getting a blank journal and keeping a book like that; writing
down all the good things that happen, all the little and not-so-little blessings, and
then sharing at least some of them in this blog.
One more thing: Thank God for books in the public domain that I can quote from at length
without having to be concerned about copyright infringements!