Departing Childhood

Sometimes it is hard to find anything to write about. Jordan’s story is blended with crescendos and quiet passages. During the most turbulent times the words pour out of me in my mind’s effort to vent, cope and adapt. But during the tranquil moments I struggle to express the emotions. They are no less profound, just harder to express. As I watch Jordan orchestrate her life I am most often silent, introspective and humbled.
Tomorrow she begins chemotherapy again. It is a new protocol – actually a mixture of new and old drugs. She will need to go to the hospital less because half of the protocol uses oral meds. I thought she would be happy about this, but then I forgot that she hates pills. She heaved a heavy sigh, then threw her arms into the air. “Well, I guess I’ll have to start eating apple sauce again.” It was a reference to her penchant for mixing bits of pills into the fruity snack.
Jordan has grown very spiritual. She prays. She thumbs through the bible. She likes going to church. She asks questions about god. It makes me very uncomfortable. I am neither religious nor spiritual. When I go to church it’s usually because there’s a good speaker. Our church is perhaps the most liberal in America (it nearly lost its tax exemption in the 2004 election), and it attracts wonderful thinkers and activists. That’s the draw for me. But for Jordan, the attraction is rooted in beliefs. She believes that god listens to her, thinks about her, heals her.
It makes me uncomfortable because I don’t know what to say when she talks of these things. I would never challenge her beliefs. They give her hope. She has faith, a wonderful, healing quality. On the other hand, I am leery that her spirituality will alter her tremendous self reliance. She has a beautiful independent will. I’ve seen it in action. She has overcome the most trying physical challenges by willing the goals into realities. My remarkable daughter is a cancer survivor five years in the making because of her tremendous sense of self. She believes she can do anything, and she has. I am unapologetically stingy with the Lord. In my head, He had nothing to do with her success. But in Jordan’s head, He guided her here. The whole conversation makes me squirmy.
Yet, Jordan’s spirituality is another sign of her growing maturity. As childlike as she often is, a strong woman is growing inside. She is wont to engage in profound meditation. She relishes the opportunity to behave with sophistication, grace and elegance. Whether it’s correcting her family when they refer to the lady’s room as the ‘bathroom’ or preparing herself for another day, she embraces life with the refinement of a young lady. She’s a trail blazer, make no doubt. But she’s more complex than the maverick persona she sometimes entertains. What a pool of thought must circle in her head! She certainly inspires many in mine. And though they don’t always spring to life in printed words, they quiet me when I’m lost in triviality and burdened by occupation.