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Monday, April 10, 2017

Lent / Tarot / The Three of Swords on the Two Year Anniversary

Equality Before Death Bouguereau 
When I decided back on March 1 to observe Lent this year by drawing one tarot card at random and blogging about it in relation to Lent, I realized that there was one calendar date looming in the future when that might be hard to do: April 10.

But here's the thing about vows, and about Catholicism. The world is bigger than my little concerns. I resolve to pray the rosary every day. There are four mysteries: the Joyful, the Glorious, the Sorrowful, and the Luminous. Even if it's a happy day for me, if it's the day to pray the Sorrowful mystery, I pray the Sorrowful mystery.

Just so with this project. April 10 would be a heavy day for me, but if I drew a happy card, I'd blog about happiness, and not mention the day's secret heartache for me.

As April 10 came closer and closer, I asked myself what card I hoped to draw on this day.

I hoped to draw the six of cups – a card that speaks of pleasant childhood memories. I drew that card, the six of cups, yesterday. And yesterday I asked myself what card I'd draw today.

After I shuffled the cards this morning and saw the card, I gasped and began to cry. This is part of why I read tarot cards. They sometimes offer companionship in loneliness.

The card I drew was the three of swords.

The three of swords depicts three swords piercing a human heart. In the background are storm clouds and rain.

The cards shared my pain. And affirmed it. Yes, yes, this could all be coincidence. But this card on this day allowed me to cry, and not to feel alone when crying. And I am grateful for that.

There's more.

Because the swords are manmade items, I interpret this card as pain that humans cause each other. This is not pain caused by a tornado that sucked a child out of a window. These human-made swords have been thrust into this human heart by human hands.

While I was still crying over this, WQXR, the New York classical station, kept reminding me that today is Sibling's Day. It struck me as so portentous that, two years ago, my sister died on Sibling's Day. And then WQXR played Ralph Vaughn Williams' variations on Greensleeves. And I just cried some more. Antoinette told me how much she loved that song, in that version.

It's hard to bring this around to Lent. I am, indeed, right now, firmly fixed deep in my own heart. Antoinette, I don't think anyone ever loved you more than I. I wish you and I had had more, better time with each other. But I was powerless over that. You made your own choices.

My best effort to swing this around to a Lenten theme is to quote the Beatitudes: Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.


I've gotta tell ya, I can't imagine what kind of comfort might be available in Heaven that could heal these wounds. But he promises that it's there. "Your grief will turn to joy," Jesus promises, in John 16:20. 

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