Jesus and Baloo

During a therapy session yesterday, I had a vision of my sister’s body lying dead on our couch.  My two-and-a-half year old sister died of leukemia when I was twelve.  I did, in fact, see her on the couch after she had passed.  While I appreciate my parents inviting me to be part of this dark moment in our lives, seeing her, deceased, was, in many ways, horrific.  I need not go into anymore details.

So, yesterday, in therapy, we were working on something else entirely when this vision popped into my head.   Although it has been twenty-one years since my sister’s death, I still struggle with it at times.  I struggle with the memories and images of her being sick, of our family being heartbroken, of her lying dead on our couch.  These are the types of images/memories that get frozen in our psyche.  The type that pain feeds on.

While I sat there with tears running down my face, my therapist asked me what I might have needed in that moment or what I might need now as I conjured up that moment.  I believe I said something like “an unbiased protector.  A calming source of strength and comfort.”

Of course, she asked me what that unbiased protector might look like.  I thought a moment, staring at a spot on the wall.

The first image that came to mind was of Jesus.  While many of my contemporaries have a beef with the story of Jesus, I myself do not.  I have my own way of looking at this compassionate, giving, forgiving, radical prophet of a man.  I like to say that I’m hip on Christ.

The second image that came up was a she-wolf.  One that would suckle you if you were freezing and hungry in the wilderness.

I quickly abandoned that one.  I don’t know why.

The last image that came into my head, and I laughed when it did because it seemed silly and because I don’t know how long it has even been since I have seen this movie, was Baloo from Disney’s The Jungle Book.

There’s a source of strength and comfort if I ever did see one.

Baloo.  There is something perfect about him being your unbiased protector.  He is both strong and sturdy (because he is a bear) and soft (because he is fat and covered in fur).  He’s full of laughter which might remind one that there is still laughter after tragedy.  He would put his big bear paws around you and hold you tight while you cried all the while holding that space for happiness.

What would it be like to have Jesus on your left side and Baloo on your right?

Last night when I got home– aching to write but trying to entertain company– there was some discussion of animal totems.  I remember being interested in that idea at some point in my life.  Maybe when I was first dating my husband.  Around age 25.

We had seen a lynx in the woods on our first date and I felt like that was some sort-of symbol of our relationship.  (The lynx is the seer of the unseen.  The holder of lost magic.  The guardian of secrets. I don’t know exactly what that meant for our relationship, but I trusted it just the same.)

I like the idea of an unbiased protector, of a totem that gives you strength and special powers.  Even if fantastical and imaginary.  Baloo and Jesus represent compassion and strength and a calming comfort.  They both forgive you your sins and your faults.  They hold for you that space of love and mystery.

I think I will be able to use Baloo and Jesus in the future.  Maybe when I’m feeling depressed or arguing with my husband or feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Good ole Baloo.  Saving Jesus.  How much better could it be?

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1 Comment

  1. slysummaries said,

    June 19, 2011 at 2:28 am

    You are not Le Boef!

    As I said on the phone, get that she-wolf back! I think I might like her, and she would kind of complete a trinity of animagi (is that what they call them in The Golden Compass? I loved that movie.). I want to know what she’s about.

    I do love this idea of totem animals… the lynx story is so interesting! I haven’t heard that one.


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