New Year's Resolution: Being More Present to Discover All is Gift

Happy New Year!  A time for resolutions?   We are proud to share this reflection on New Year's Resolutions by our good friend, Maryknoll collaborator and JustFaith Grad, Dave McKeown, who reflects on how his learning that he has ALS led to him to resolve to be more mindful and present.   In many ways, Dave's resolution is at the core of mission.   Through mindfulness and being present, we discover not only God's mission of love, but that all is gift, and that God invites us to join in that mission of love regardless of our age, health or circumstances.  In each moment we have the ability to be part of the great adventure of love.  Thanks Dave, you inspire all of us!

Many of us think of New Year's as a time to reflect on what has happened to us in the past year and look ahead toward the future. Like many people, I've used New Year's to set goals for family, health and career. For the most part, it didn't really bother me much if I didn't keep a resolution. Two years ago this month, I was doing my usual looking ahead at the year to come. Then came sobering news from my doctor that the muscle weakness in my arm was the onset of ALS. Brought to public attention decades ago by famous baseball player Lou Gehrig, ALS is a terminal neuromuscular disease that attacks all the voluntary muscles in your body. Although much progress has been made in research, there is no cure for this condition.

In the time since I received this news, you might imagine my outlook on New Year's, future, and resolutions have all dramatically changed. You see, in thinking about resolutions I always assumed that my life plan was mine to determine. As people of faith we know better don't we? Not my will Lord, but yours.

Every day brings me new challenges, like not being able to drive anymore, or needing help getting dressed and preparing meals. It's become more difficult to type, and yet here I am dictating these words into technology that changes them to text. The dramatic change in my life has resulted in an even more dramatic change in my relationship with God. I am more prayerful. I am truly grateful each day for every breath I can take on my own, every person that I encounter, and every action I take that somehow helps another person, all of these gifts from God. I find great hope as I experience God's love through others. As my physical strength declines, my spirituality has grown stronger thanks to family and friends. God is indeed good. So this year, my New Year's resolution is to be fully present in each moment, looking for joy and hope in that moment, and knowing that God is holding me in the moments that are most challenging. I fully intend to keep this resolution!

I continue to be inspired by all of you and the work you do. I pray that this new year brings you joy, good health, and great satisfaction. Peace and all good.

-Dave McKeown, JustFaith grad