In the game of bridge, “trump” refers to the suit of cards that will win over all others.
I’m sure our current president just loves it that he has that name—and he’s tried to live up to it.
Many years ago, I played bridge for a while, when my first husband and I had just married and had no money. I had learned the fundamentals in high school, when my mother figured bridge was one of those social graces that would help me in life.
Seven girlfriends and I were impossible students, giggling and whispering behind our hands from our two tables of four each. Our teacher, who punctuated every comment by snapping her jaw shut, her dentures making a loud click, was what we noticed more than the rules.
About all I remember is that in each “hand” of bridge, a game played by four, one suit is designated as “trump.” Then you play “tricks,” where someone plays a card and everyone else has to follow suit, the highest card winning. The one with the most tricks wins.
If someone plays a club and it’s my turn and I’m out of clubs, I have to play another card. If diamonds are trump, I can play a two of diamonds and win the trick, even if someone else played the ace of clubs. Trump wins every time.
How ironic that the man who we elected president of our country is named Trump.
So what suit will be “trump” in this particular game we’re being forced to play in this dark era? There are four choices.
Let’s consider the suit of clubs. The word “club” might refer to a group of people who band together out of common interest. We’ve seen and heard a lot about political parties, about tribalism, about nationalism. That kind of “club” could be “trump” at the moment, since we are so divided in our world views. That energy does seem to have a lot of power.
Clubs could also refer to a weapon, to something used in brute force. Hate to think of that energy being “trump.” We’ve seen too many times what that leads to.
And, there are other kinds of clubs or groups that band together—nonprofits, churches, international alliances, treaties. “Clubs” in favor of saving Earth and the human species. Those have power too—that we’ll need for our rebuilding.
How about the suit of spades? A spade is used for digging. Digging deeper to find the truth, to find deeper waters, to find causes of our current situation would be a great use of a spade. Spades might symbolize hard work, and we’ll need plenty of that to rebuild our foundations of equality, justice, and democracy.
Of course, we’ve also seen images of the chain gang, where people who are imprisoned are forced to work, digging away, being oppressed. Oppression had better not become “trump.”
The suit of diamonds would indicate wealth. Money is certainly a huge factor in our situation, and it has been used for both good and evil. We’ve heard about “dirty diamonds” mined by oppressing workers and sold in questionable markets. Wealth corrupts, and we’ve seen golden toilet seats connected with the world leader we elected. Wall Street has ruled too long, and the growing divisions between rich and poor are ruining us.
On the other hand, money can be used for a great deal of healing. Wonderful nonprofits all over the world are doing good, and there are millionaires and billionaires giving money away to save the planet. So this suit will also be needed in the rebuilding.
I’ve saved hearts for last, because this is the suit I’m betting on. Now, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not moving toward a cliché, or toward the notion that we can just all join hands and sing Kumbaya. The heart for me refers to the kind of Divine Love that includes Divine Rage, compassion, and the courage to act on the truth.
The leaders we most respect have acted out of hearts on fire. Revolutionary Love, as Valarie Kaur terms it, reminds us of Martin Luther King, of Desmond Tutu, of Gandhi, and of Mother Teresa. From indigenous wisdom keepers all over the world to great poets, artists and seers, we have been advised, inspired, and indeed pleaded with, to make love the trump card.
If we could become a heart-centered culture, everything would have to change. If we can return to the heart, to the place where we remember who we are, we might regain a mixture of humility and dignity. We might every day remember to place ourselves in right relationship to the cosmos, where we are both tiny and magnificent. We might remember why we are here.
Of course, taking the path of the heart means they get broken. That’s where the term “bleeding heart” comes from. And, hearts can rise above. That’s where the Sufi symbol of the heart with wings comes from.
The broken hearts we feel today are probably necessary. Just as Divine Rage is necessary for us to wake up. Those heart initiations must be the only thing that can give us the courage to act on the truth that will set us free.
So, that’s my vote for hearts being trump in this game. The other cards we play can all be important too. We need to band together in clubs. We need to do the hard work in spades. We need to invest our diamonds.
But none of it will work without heart.
If you believe the good news of any of the world faiths, then you must believe that love wins. But playing that card, despite cliché versions of valentines, will not be easy. But we have it in us.
It’s all inside you. Inside us. Are you in? Let’s play bridge, as in being bridges to a new day.
Hearts are trump.