Learning from the Seagulls (Part 1)

Blog 16 Image Enda Learning from the Seagulls 1 0ct 18Everyday events can be incredibly entertaining! I have always enjoyed the sight and sounds of seagulls-a comforting sound along with the rhythm of the waves.  So, I know that birds make me happy, but I wonder do they experience joy themselves? I’m sitting watching seagulls on the sand. They look as if they are playing ‘tag’ but I’m sure that is a very superficial interpretation of their interactions. They are certainly engaged in playful behaviour that doesn’t seem to have any real purpose other than their own enjoyment. I’m wondering at the value or otherwise this modern world places on ‘play’.  Many of us are so involved in work or commitments that we never seem to have time for pure fun. Play is a sure way to relieve stress, fuel the imagination, creativity, and emotional well-being. ‘We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing” (George Bernard Shaw). It connects us to others and the world around us.

Within the orbit of that playful group, a solitary seagull pecks around, looks somewhat smaller than the others, perhaps a young bird.  One from the ‘fun’ group leaves and approaches the solitary one and there is a degree of congenial communication, while the others continue their playfulness - an example of ‘awareness'.

These mew calls and as many loud caw calls are all very intriguing. We may not be sure what they’re saying, but clearly, they’ve got something on their minds! They are communicating! I am transfixed watching these gulls. I reflect on the various commanding ‘voices’ that I hear daily, voices crying out - the homeless, the cost of living, people trafficking, violence, war, climate change. Do I pretend not to hear or understand? The importance of living consciously to the nuances of life has never been more imperative and surely demands a Christian response from a Christian society. The tragic consequences of these events are felt greatest on the poor of the world. We must not remain silent. We must hear the voice of Jesus calling us ‘to be one’.  We are all accountable to a greater or lesser degree. As the psalmist says, we will be judged by how we have lived

by Enda McMullan SSL