I am not religious. In fact, I am not even certain I could say I am spiritual. Raised in a church-going family with strong Lutheran and Catholic influences, I have read the bible, served at the altar, and sung in the choir. Yet, I lost interest in religion when Jordan embarked on her journey. That’s not to say I hold anything against my many friends who are strong in their faith. They offer prayers for Jordan and our family and I am always grateful as we accept them. But religion is hollow to me.
That’s why I was intrigued by the song in my head when I awoke this morning. It was an old 19th century hymn that we sang at Mt. Calvary Lutheran: a Protestant anthem nearly always accompanied by the bellowing blasts of a daunting pipe organ.
Guide me O Thou great Redeemer
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak but Thou art mighty
Hold me with thy powerful hand.
Bread of heaven
Feed me now and evermore.
These were the hymns of my childhood, and the music geek in me secretly enjoyed their grandness; their drama. I found comfort in them not because of their message but because of their scale.
Today, our pilgrim begins chemo again. It’s an effort to restart the battle against cancer, who is abiding in her brain with great stealth. Her scans are stable, but her seizures are escalating. So, her team has opted to attack again to see if there is a way to starve the beast. The Slayer is about to return to her craft. She’s sanguine about her call to arms. For the rest of us, there is worry, doubt, restlessness.
Perhaps that is why my brain returned to music and Sunday mornings. I still put my faith in science and a girl with the courage of a lion. I know that she will guide me through this next stage of our journey, however barren it might prove. She is, indeed, “bread of heaven.” Today, I celebrate her with a refrain of hope and the blasts of a pipe organ.