Saturday, December 04, 2004

My buddy Jordan

Published December 4, 2004

My heroes these days are all younger than me. Whether they are the young ones serving in the military or those here at home, it seems they are engaged in various battles. One particularly courageous hero is 12 years old and is battling Leukemia. I fell in love with this wonderful boy several years ago when he was a participant in a Christmas pageant I put together for the kids at our church. Jordan had a major role in the production. He was playing the part of a saint. I think that art does more than imitate life, in this case. He seems to embody patient and sustained suffering without a single thought of himself, ever. Even through a face mask, his smiles come through the twinkle in his sweet eyes.

To say that my buddy Jordan is special is an understatement. I can’t think of a time where I ever heard a single word of disrespect or unkind word from him. He is a bright, thoughtful and deeply faithful child, the oldest of 4 other siblings who adore and love him very much. I’ve seen how his suffering has refined the rough edges of all of his family and friends who know him and care about him. In particular it’s astonishing to me when I find myself in self pitying and selfish moments, that Jordan’s illness and his resignation to it, immediately humbles me and gives me perspective about my own trivial problems or inconveniences.

My buddy Jordan is a sensitive, passionate child. He plays the piano, is an exceptional artist and sings in a Gregorian chant youth choir. He is a voracious reader and good student. The simple things in life bring him joy. Going to church, being amongst his friends and going on field trips are the highlights of his week. He is a faithful helper to his Mom and Dad and likes to cook.

He was admitted to the hospital last week critically ill from a sustained whooping cough infection and another virus that was zapping his white cell count. Naturally we were all worried that the leukemia was back and that is still a real concern to his physicians. I stopped by the hospital, afraid and worried. Through his mask, his eyes smiled, though I knew he was in a world of pain. It brought back memories.

Four years ago, we were practicing every week for this hour long pageant. Jordan had been on crutches for several months and symptomatic for many months beyond that with undiagnosed leukemia. He insisted on performing in the pageant which required him to be on his knees in an excruciating posture. Not once did he mention a word to me of the discomfort he was enduring. He was at the 5 hour dress rehearsal the day previous and I know he went home completely spent and exhausted. When word came after Christmas that he had leukemia, I remember the world stopping as we absorbed the news in disbelief and sorrow for him and his family. I remember desperate prayers and urgent plea bargaining with God to spare his life. To be back in this position again is numbing. However, grace abounds where sorrow treads and we got word a couple days before Thanksgiving that his white cell count is starting to rise again after being dangerously low for the last two weeks. If he pulls through this trial, I’d put on a parade for our little hero.
If you have a moment today, say a little prayer for our buddy Jordan. Our heroes need our prayers too.

Tammy Maher is a resident of El Dorado Hills and bi-weekly columnist for the Mountain Democrat. You can reach her at

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