Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Share Your Story: Jude McCanse

This is a guest post for the "Share Your Story" series (learn more about it here!).

I'm excited to introduce you all to Jude. Her daughter J., who I know through my best friend N., encouraged her to write a post for this series. I'm so glad she reached out to me!


I am a cradle Catholic and embrace the faith, but I have always felt a little uncomfortable when I hear people say, “God cured me” or “God saved me” in one situation or another.  While I believe in the healing power of God, that He is omnipotent and can do all things, I’ve struggled with the notion that He would choose to heal or save one person over another, one child over another. I find it difficult to put “God” and “arbitrary” in the same thought.  Did one person not pray hard enough for him or herself, or for their ailing child?  Does God have some kind of “prayer meter” that measures the quantity, intensity and sincerity of prayer? If a person dies in spite of prayer, was he or she deemed unworthy of healing? I think not.
Two years ago, a middle-school student in the district I work in passed away from a cancer that he bravely fought against since kindergarten.  I never had Ben as a student, but his grandmother is a colleague, and staff would get regular mass e-mails about Ben’s condition and treatment. Talk about a faith-filled family…his mom thanked God for new treatments, prayed constantly that they would work and that Ben would tolerate the side-effects without too much pain and nausea.  She ended every e-mail with, “KEEP PRAYING!!!”  We all did.
The year Ben died, our 24-year-old daughter, Hilary, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  Any parent can relate to our feelings, the realization of a parent’s worst nightmare.  We jumped in with both feet getting the medical treatment started; CT scan, two difficult and dangerous biopsies (the tumor was near her heart), six months of chemotherapy and five weeks of radiation.  And like Ben’s mother, I prayed and asked everyone I know to pray for Hilary’s healing.  In the back of my mind, however, I couldn’t help but think, “Why Hilary and not Ben?”
One of the friends I asked to pray for Hilary is a woman I’ve known since our kids were little.  We’ve shared many ups and downs of life over the years.  Chris isn’t sophisticated, and she’s had a hard life, but I’ve always admired her faith and how easily she can put things in God’s hands.  The next time I saw her after I asked her to pray for Hilary, she told me that God spoke to her and told her what words we should use when we prayed.  She looked a little puzzled and asked, “What does, era…era…eradicate mean?”  When I told her, she said that’s what she thought it must mean.  God told her that we should pray that “Hilary’s cancer is eradicated.”  I had no doubt that God had spoken to my friend…she wasn’t sure how to pronounce “eradicate” or what exactly the word meant.
It has been over a year since Hilary completed her treatments, and she is actively working and living her life in New York City.  She just had a negative CT scan and was told that she can stretch the scans to 8 months instead of 6.  We are incredibly grateful.  I wish I could say that now I get it, the whole prayer/healing thing, but I don’t, and I know that it is a mystery that I will never understand.  All I can say is that I take nothing for granted. Every day, I thank God for Hilary’s health and continue to pray for strength and wisdom…and of course, that the cancer will be eradicated forever.

Jude is a speech pathologist in the Winnebago, IL school district and writing is her avocation. She has published a children's book, The Disappearance of Dawn (judemccanse.com), for ages pre-school through fifth grade, and she has had several poems published in the literary magazine, The Rockford Review. An essay that she wrote about her father appears in Tim Russert's Wisdom of Our Fathers and she has been a guest blogger on Makobi Scribe. Jude is married to her wonderful husband, Don, and they are the parents of five terrific grown children!


  1. Hmmm..poignant.
    I always ask these same questions.
    I actually asked the question this morning when I prayed about finding some important documents I left on the train yesterday. As I prayed, I kept thinking of how some of my prayers are yet been answered. However, I am reminded that many of my prayers have been answered.

    It is hard to determine why God chooses to answer some prayers and take His time with others...I ask questions about it a lot. I remain rested in the truth that He is both a loving and wise God.

    I also pray Hilary's is cured of cancer forever.

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