When I was a child, one of my favorite movies was the 1960 film “Pollyanna.” It is about a sweet and optimistic orphan that comes to live with her wealthy and stoic aunt. In the movie, Pollyanna’s infectious positivity wins over even the most cranky town members. She played a game that she called “The glad game.” In this game, no matter the situation, you don’t dwell on the bad, but rather, look for the good. Growing-up, like any adolescent, I complained about a lot. When I did, my mom would often say, “Let’s play the glad game!” This would often be greeted with an eye-roll, but as I got older and wiser, I often think of this quote from Pollyanna.
“And most generally there is something about everything that you can be glad about, if you keep hunting long enough to find it.”
― Eleanor H. Porter, Pollyanna
Over the past year, my mom has been fighting hard to battle pancreatic cancer. She has had chemo, surgery, more chemo, and though all of this she has always shifted her thinking to look for the good in the situation. One of the good things that has came out of this hardship, is that she has been able to reconnect with old friends. When my mom was in her early 20’s she worked third shift at a factory and had several good friends. As I got a little older, and didn’t sleep as much, my mom was no longer able to keep of the schedule of being a full-time mom during the day and working at night, so she quit her job. As she got busy with her family, she lost touch with many of her good friends. When the news of her illness spread, she started to re-connect with many of her old friends. One of these friends (Aliana) has been a great blessing and a true silver lining in my mom’s life. Not only that, but we have become connected with Alaina’s family.
Last night I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Aliana’s daughter Holly. Holly is a stay at home mom and owner of an online boutique “Stella & Grace Boutique” named after her two daughters. (https://shopstellagrace.com)
I had previously purchased a few items from Holly and was so excited to meet her in person. Last evening, Holly set-up a pop-up shop at my house and my friends and I were able to shop her collection. When Holly left after the party, I couldn’t help but reflect on how this chance connection may never have happened if my mom hadn’t gotten sick.
It is so easy to let life get away from you. In my mom and Aliana’s case, they were great friends in their 20’s and as they both started their family, changed jobs, and got busy with other things, they allowed themselves to drift apart. I see this happen all the time with friends. Many of my friends are transient and wax and wane in and out of my life at different times, but true friends always re-surface when they are needed!
Yes, it is terrible that my mom has pancreatic cancer and is putting up a full force fight to survive, but if we play the glad game, we can be happy that this diagnosis re-connected her with her old friend and introduced all of us to her wonderful family. If you look for the good, you will find it!