BY GISELLE (GIGI) DELGADO
Photo: The point of entry of Jesus in Jerusalem (Palm Sunday). Artwork by Felix Tafsart (1896). Renata Sedmakova/Shutterstock
I was walking around my neighborhood one day when I saw a bunch of palm fronds on the floor. I’m not sure if they were there after the gardeners cleaned up that area or perhaps it was the evidence of a battle between birds and squirrels.
As I moved my feet carefully, avoiding stepping on the palm fronds, this thought came to me: "I wonder if this is what it looked like on the day that Jesus came into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday." Was this similar to the aftermath of all the joy and tumultuous curiosity of bystanders looking at this beautiful man riding a donkey? At what point did people decide to use palm fronds to salute Jesus anyway? And did people just throw the palm fronds on the floor when it was over or did they take them home as a keepsake? I know I would have kept them for sure!
I imagined the feeling of walking by that area where Jesus had already passed through. I could hear the loud silence that lingers after a big crowd has expelled their emotions as they leave. I heard myself say out loud “Darn, I just missed Him! ”
What a heartbreaking moment to realize that just a minute before that place was filled with his presence and I missed him! My heart sank with sorrow just with that thought. My brain and my heart didn’t know if it was real, or if it was just a figment of my imagination, but the pain was palpable, and I felt deep sorrow for knowing that many people, including me, didn’t get to live that moment and see him in person and feel him and breathe him and listen to him. I didn’t get to experience the sound of his voice, the smell of his hair, and the gaze in his eyes. Darn, I just missed Him!
But then, at the same time, as I thought about all this, this sacred awareness, like soothing oil, covered my soul. A type of knowing that transcends all understanding that told me I didn’t miss him. In fact, he embodied me. He embodied others so that I could continuously experience him.
The problem is sometimes I arrive too late Not to the moment, but to the presence and awareness of the now. I am busy in my thoughts and in my pain. I’m distracted by the things that are not of him and I stop being aware that he’s been here all along. Palm fronds or not he’s been here always.
Unfortunately sometimes I am only able to recognize his presence after the moment has passed, just like the palm fronds on the floor that reminded me of the moment where Jesus triumphantly came in to the town riding on a donkey, the aftermath of whatever has been happening in my life are my palm fronds. the letters of a friend, a note from my husband, a drawing from my daughter, a text from my friends, and loved ones, reminding me how much they love me.
Those are the palm fronds that remind me that Jesus was here and because I was distracted. Darn, I just missed Him!