The Disappointment of Palm Sunday

I should be sleeping.  But between the charismatic church next door, Javier’s snoring, the washing machine that refuses to be balanced, and the two dudes chopping down a tree (and this is of course being done with machetes…) in the next yard, sleep is just not going to happen right now.

It’s Palm Sunday and that’s cool.  I was so looking forward to today; to my favorite processions with their amazing alfombras down in the city this morning.  But you know how sometimes God has other plans for you?  That’s where I’m at.  Reeling from His plans.

I got a call from Javier last night as he was walking Rupert, our golden retriever.  A panicked call, I should say.  An unintelligibly panicked call.  He asked for his wallet.  He was calling from a strange number.  All I could think was that someone was holding him.  I know it doesn’t seem to make sense right now, but that is the only sense I could make of it then.  So, I ran out of the house, no shoes, phone in one hand and wallet in the other.  It turned out Javier wasn’t in danger, but Rupert was…convulsing and unresponsive on the ground.  About an hour after the panic and shouting and mess and driving, the vet told us Rupert had been poisoned and that he could not then know if Rupert would survive.   We got back home around 2am and  I went to bed.  We had committed to take a friend to the processions this morning, which meant getting up around 4:30am and leaving for the city around 5am.

The procession from Las Capuchinas always begins at 6am.  Except today, when it didn’t.  And in the rush to get it out of the church and on it’s way, late already, the float was moved rapidly and directly at us, causing the crowd to panic and push and stample one another.  An elderly man behind me was knocked down and grabbed for me, with what I can only imagine was all the force he could muster, so that I would not let him get pushed further under everyone else.  A kid was crying because the man had landed on the flowers he was selling, probably ruining his day’s wages.

By the time we were all safely restored, the procession had moved on around the corner and I had missed the shot for which we had so carefully positioned ourselves.  We usually walk on ahead of the procession in order to see the alfombras before they are trampled.  This morning, because of the brisk pace set, it was all we could do to cut over three or four city blocks and make our way back to be in front of it.  When we did arrive on ahead, there were almost no carpets to be seen, and the ones that were there were made only of pine needles, not the extravagant flowers and fruits and breads that I’ve seen laid out on colored sawdust in years past.  Javier thinks it’s the economy this year.  I felt let down somehow.  I had so looked forward to those carpets.   We never did make it to the second procession.

So now I’m here, lacking sleep and left to ask what to make of all of this.  Was I looking forward to Palm Sunday for the wrong reasons?  Was I just looking to be entertained and get some nice pictures to send out to the world?  To show a friend something she hadn’t seen before?  Did my my selfish concerns, circumstances, and desires change my perspective on the meaning of today’s event?  I am likely guilty of all of that and more.  But am I just as likely to have received a gift today?  Is it possible that my disappointment has given me a clearer understanding of Christ’s last days in Jerusalem? The crowds that greeted Him were expecting a king, a hero, a warrior; not a guy on a donkey who wouldn’t even defend himself.  And their great expectation very quickly turned to disappointment, betrayal, and murder. And sitting here now, I can’t help but wonder if I also was expecting the wrong things from today and what my selfish disappointment could lead to if I don’t choose to recognize it…

The vet thinks Rupert will pull through, but has concerns about the long-term effects of the poisoning.  Rupert has to stay in the dog hospital at least until tomorrow.  It’s quite around the house without him.  Quiet enough to hear the rest of life moving on outside anyway…hence the reason I can’t sleep just now.


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