On the day marking a triumphant entry of a King into Jerusalem, this Palm Sunday started out drizzly and bitter cold. Rain in the forecast again. As I sat behind the registration table in the foyer of my church, welcoming families and their children, I noticed the palm branches limply splayed on a bench nearby.
Not so joyful of a Sunday, I thought. Even the palm branches can't find anything to be excited about. Nevertheless, I greeted each child and asked how her or she was doing. Most said, “Fine, thank you,” and moved on. But one little boy, maybe nine years old, leaned over my table, his hands in excited little fists. “I'm doing awesome!” He smiled so big, squishing his freckles into one another.
Since I don't hear that response very often, unless it involves a Disney vacation, I asked him what made him so happy on such a depressing, rainy day.
“I love the rain! I love the rain because it makes the worms come out, and then I can catch them!” He continued to smile and he even jumped up and down in anticipation. And then, before I could say another word, he turned and ran towards his family, leaving behind a trail of flair.
As he left, I thought about finding flair in the inconvenient, bitter cold rain. Come to think of it, most of life seems inconvenient and bitter. Our plans change. Our dreams die. We get sick. Loved ones pass away. Natural disasters strike nations. Children suffer. We suffer. Life doesn't often give us the luxury of living with flair in the midst of suffering.
But this little boy somehow saw past the rain. He knew that bad weather "makes the worms come out." Living with flair means I think beyond the inconvenient circumstance or the suffering to what it might make "come out." What beauty, what compassion, what goodness, what secret treasure? I can dread the rain, or I can dig deep into it, find the joy, and let in squiggle across my palm.