Michael Overman, an ordination candidate at Garrett Theological Seminary, poses Friday, October 19, 2012 in a garden outside the seminary at Northwestern University. (Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune)  B582456116z.1 -met-gay-seminarian ....OUTSIDE TRIBUNE CO.- NO MAGS,  NO SALES, NO INTERNET, NO TV, CHICAGO OUT, NO DIGITAL MANIPULATION...

Michael O. – Five of Cups

I’m relatively new to the world of tarot. After buying my first deck, I started just looking through the cups. Being a naturally emotional person – I’m a hospital chaplain by trade – of course I felt a particular bond to the suit of Cups. When I came across the Five of Cups, in this deck, its tagline was “Befriending Grief.” It said the following:

“In the Five of Cups, the tug towards disillusionment is strong, but being thoughtful and gentle in this moment will put the past in the past, where it belongs. The cups will fill again, and the storm will pass. Feel the pain, and keep one foot on solid ground.”

I couldn’t help but feel like so many queer people have had experiences with grief while not always having outlets for processing it. Even in my own life, when I realized I was gay, I didn’t know how to deal with the grief of not having a “normal life.” Now, years later, whenever grief surfaces, rather than running from it, I often try to ask, “What do I have to learn from this loss? What do I have at my disposal for helping me cope with and get through this loss? What’s still there?”

Standing at the bedside of people who are dying, I often find myself saying, “Loss is normal. We all deal with it.” Perhaps, when we realize how normal our experiences of grief are, we can also find ways of sharing our strength with each other.