Change is hard. This isn’t revolutionary, but every time a new change knocks the wind out of us, we are astounded. WHY did that person change their heart? WHY can’t things be the way they were? Why are we not who we used to be? No fair. No goddamned, really hurty sonofabitching fair.
I had a reading the other night. I have this friend, Earnest, who I’ve known since they were too young to want readings. They had a sweetheart, a good sweetheart, for almost two years. Then they took a break. Then they tried again. Then they decided to be friends. Then, the sweetheart went away. No explanation, no conversation. Just, “I don’t want to see you or talk to you anymore.”
If I didn’t know Earnest the way I do, I would think that they had behaved poorly, and were being treated poorly in return. But I know Earnest really well, and I read for them, and that’s just not the case. The Sweetheart is being a punk-ass chicken, and didn’t have the character to be honest and speak out about their own flaws, so they pushed it all on Earnest and locked themselves away. Sweetheart got everything they wanted without any responsibility. How nice for them.
Joseph Pintauro is a warrior poet, guys.
SO, change. Not so fun. In his book The Poet’s Tarot, Josep Sobrer says that Death is Tired. In a conversation we had, he said, “The card Death reminds us of the impossibility of living without bonds, a scary thought if there is one.” Change is exhausting and too much change can leave us to doubt ourselves, our futures and our relationships. Wears me out.
I used to make the mistake of telling clients to not be afraid of the Death card. “It just means change! Don’t freak out!” True – it doesn’t mean that you’re going to die (probably). BUT, it’s not nothin. It’s all well and good for me to tell Earnest that they’re better off without Sweetheart. That they’re not supposed to be together, and that Earnest is going to be fine. In the MEANTIME, Earnest has a gigantic hole ripped into her side that won’t stop bleeding and she can’t look forward to the healing part because she’s trying to not fall apart at the seams. It’s painful.
You can’t pull the Death card for someone and be oblivious to the pain that Change can bring into someone’s world. Eventually, yeah. Earnest is going to be in fantastic shape. Right now? Not so much. Blowing sunshine up her ass is the LEAST welcome thing in the universe.
What did I do instead? I looked at the Death card – Death and his horse plodding slowly but surely across the bleak landscape. I said I was so sorry. I told Earnest that I knew it hurt and I wish I could fix it. I told Earnest that they have one more week to be sad and cry and then they need to wipe their nose and start moving forward WITH the pain, and that one morning, they’d wake up and the pain would be absorbed into them and CHANGED into something else.
Changed into Strength, or Courage, or Sassiness. Something useful. Something that doesn’t hurt as bad. Something that doesn’t make their Auntie Lis drive all the way across the country to smack Sweetheart directly in the stupid face. I love you, Earnest. Make good choices.