There’s nothing cuter than all the little kiddos waving their palm branches in church on Palm Sunday. Clearly, this is way more fun then trying to hold still while sitting in a pew! And there’s a festive atmosphere in church. This is the day we celebrate Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. It’s also my Sunday off, and I’m thankful to be here with family and friends. But what tugs at my heart the most is seeing our little foster baby waving his palm branches and grinning ear-to-ear for me. My heart is heavy for him, for his future remains uncertain. His parents have recently split; meanwhile, termination proceedings have started for dad and mom is back in rehab AGAIN. This is the second time around we have had him in his short life. I feel so torn between love for this sweet, innocent child, and anger for the unfairness that life has already dealt him. And he’s just one of so many kids in this situation. So, so many families in America are touched personally by this same problem. And each time I get to know another foster kid and their parents, I realise all over again that these are people just like you and I, who are either down on their luck, or dealing with every-day life issues just like the rest of us. They usually have a poor support system, poor role models, or both. They don’t set out to purposefully sabotage themselves, and yet that’s where they end up, regardless. There’s no quick fix, no easy solutions to these problems in society.
How do I reconcile my faith with the problems of every-day America? There’s no easy answer to that either, but I do it the best way I know how– I put it into action. On this Palm Sunday, I’m thankful I can love on this little one, and keep him safe from the big bad wolf, so to speak. He doesn’t have to worry about going hungry, or being scared or hurt, or crying himself to sleep at night. He can run and play at our house to his little heart’s content, and not have a care in the world, as all one-year-old’s should. In the meantime, I pray for his future. I pray that this happy-go-lucky, carefree toddler gets a chance to grow up as a normal kid in a normal home. That his smile never goes away, that his cheerful spirit stays intact. Every kid deserves that chance at happiness.
His future won’t be decided today, however. That’s somewhere out there in the hazy distance. But today is here, right now, and we are gonna live it up the best we know how. Which means we’re gonna swish some palm branches around for fun a few more times, probably chase each other with them a time or two, and laugh out loud while we’re doing it. I’m going to try to not to fall in my heels while he scampers away from me, and when I catch him and all his greenery, I’ll give him a huge bear hug. And my heart will be full of thankfulness.