This post is going to be weird. Bear with me. I have a point.
The other night I dreamed that my husband was killed by a kangaroo. I found myself in an office in the hospital trying to figure out what to do, and I looked down at a pad of paper. On the pad was a bereavement hotline for people who had lost a loved one in a kangaroo attack. I called the number, and the person who picked up said, “National Forestry Service- Kangaroo Education Resources.”
“Uh, I was trying to call the kangaroo attack bereavement hotline?”
“I’m sorry. I do education resources.”
“Can you transfer me to the right person? I just lost someone to a kangaroo. “
“Yes, they can be very deadly animals. That’s why they were used in boxing matches.”
“Oh, don’t worry. Only five people are killed by kangaroos each year.”
“The tails are the deadliest part. Very strong. But they are usually quite gentle.”
“This really isn’t helping me,” I said.
“But it’s very rare!”
This went on for several minutes. I would say, “My husband died.” She would reply with a fact about kangaroo attacks as if it would somehow make me feel better. I finally started angry-laughing because it was so ridiculous.
“Ma’am, I don’t need you to tell me statistics about kangaroos. I lost the person I care about most to a stupid kangaroo.” And then I woke up.
I realize this is very morbid dream. Ignore my husband’s demise at the wrong end of a kangaroo, and focus on the phone conversation. This woman heard me say “kangaroo” and proceeded to tell me facts and figures. She emphasized that death by kangaroo hardly ever happens, that most kangaroos won’t hurt you, that my situation was not normal. It actually made me feel worse because I wondered why I, out of all the millions of people, had been selected to suffer. I was suddenly very lonely as I realized no one would be able to understand how I felt. As I thought about this bizarre scenario spewed from the depths of my subconscious, I saw a connection.
A few months ago my husband stepped down from his pastorate. It was a difficult situation, and we both walked away wounded. I’ve spent the last few months trying to sort out my emotions. I’m angry. I’m hurt. I’m worried for that church. I miss the wonderful friends I made. I’m trying very hard to forgive. When I explain what happened, people tell me that it isn’t normal, that most churches won’t hurt me that way, that it will never happen to me again. But I am the statistic. Telling me that it should never happen to me again does not undo the damage. It makes me wonder why I get to be on the wrong end of the statistician’s poll. It makes me lonely because it emphasizes how few people can really understand how I’m feeling right now. Believing God has purpose in pain does not make it any less painful.
I don’t say all this to keep people from trying to comfort me. I need hugs and prayer. I need reminders of God’s faithfulness. I’m grateful for our new church family and how they have loved me and my family. I just hope this helps you understand better why I’m still afraid of kangaroos. I am healing, and that takes time.