1. an excessively or blindly optimistic person.
2. (often lowercase). Also, Pollyannaish. unreasonably or illogically optimistic (www.dictionary.com)
In doing some research recently for my memoir, I looked up the dictionary definition of my name and was unpleasantly surprised at what I found: “excessively,” “unreasonably,” and “illogically” optimistic?! Seriously? Such negative connotations in reference to optimism! What in the world? My very first reaction was that I was—and am—greatly offended by the dictionary definition. My second reaction is that somehow or another I have to find a way to get in touch with whoever creates these definitions and begin a petition to get the definition changed. My third reaction is that it is no wonder there are so many joy-stealers/joy-killers around me. Rather than seeing optimism as a positive or good thing, people are conditioned even through definitions to see optimism as something negative. So when someone comes along with a “glass half-full” view of life, said person is ridiculed and condemned for not seeing reality, for being “unreasonably” optimistic.
All my life I have dealt with joy-killers. It feels as if every time I have felt any measure of joy in my life, there has been someone waiting to make sure that I know how ridiculous it is for me to feel such joy. There has always been someone to bring me down out of the clouds and help me plant my feet firmly on the ground. In spite of stories like The Neverending Story that teach that it is perfectly okay to dream and live in another world, someone is always there, waiting to crush my spirit.
I imagine myself—and other optimists like me—walking through life holding a giant bouquet of large, helium-filled balloons. (Think of the movie Up and you’ll come close to the number of balloons I see in this bouquet.) My balloons are gorgeous. They are all colors, but there are more pinks and purples than the rest because they are my favorite color. Not only are they all colors, they are all variations of colors and some even sparkle with a few that glow. My bouquet is magical and it lifts me up into the clouds on wings of joy.
Along comes a joy-killer with a bow and a quiver full of arrows.This joy-killer sees me in the clouds with my amazing balloon bouquet and immediately lets an arrow fly, popping at least a dozen of my balloons with one shot. The joy-killer doesn’t stop there. No. The joy-killer won’t be satisfied until every single balloon is popped and I am back with my feet planted firmly on the ground.
As my balloons pop, I plummet towards the earth. When I land, I hit hard, breaking bones, bruising parts of my body I wasn’t even aware could be bruised. Not one balloon survived. I am surrounded by broken pieces of my once beautiful balloon bouquet. The sorrow and sadness well up in me to the point of pure rage, but the joy-killer is strutting around demanding to acknowledgment and thanks for having saved me—rather than having harmed me.
No one helps me up. A few around me feel sorry to see my beautiful bouquet destroyed, but they all believe that the joy-killer has saved me.
Only I know how destructive the joy-killer's arrows have been. Only I feel the aches and pains in my body. I am alone as the sadness settles over me now as a warm, comfortable blanket. I wrap it around myself and shuffle away, isolated and dejected.
Why? Why is it that there are those who would rather we all walk around looking dejected rather than with smiles on our faces? Why is it better to be sad or angry than it is to be filled with joy? Why does the glass have to be half-empty rather than half-full? Why does even the definition of a “Pollyanna” have to filled with such negative connotations as “unreasonably” or “illogically” optimistic? What in the world is so very wrong with being optimistic?
My Bible tells me to be FULL of the JOY of the Lord. I am told inmy Bible to serve the Lord ENTHUSIASTICALLY. (See my previous posts for the scripture references.) Jesus himself was a man of Joy and laughter. Jesus was also criticized for being a man of Joy and murdered upon a cross because He was full of life, love, and joy.
So go ahead and criticize me. You go right on ahead and pop the balloons of my joy bouquet. You go ahead and try to keep me down, bruised and broken. Go ahead, joy-killer and knock me down. Go right on ahead.
Just like my Lord and Savior who rose again, I will get up again. I will have a new, more beautiful bouquet than I had before. My balloons will be bigger. They will be even more colorful. I will fly higher in the clouds on wings of joy than I did previously. Joy-killer, you may do everything in your power to knock me down and keep me under my blanket of sadness, but I am POLLYANNA and I will throw off that blanket and take hold of my beautiful balloon bouquet and rise above you……!!!!!!
8 “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10, NLT)