Last week the College of Cardinals elected the Archbishop of Buenos Aires to be the new supreme head of the Catholic Church. The new pope took the name of Francis and already there is speculation about possible reforms and changes within Roman Catholicism. The cardinals vote in a secret ballot inside the Sistine Chapel and then the ballots are burned. The paper naturally produces white smoke, but chemicals are added to make the smoke black until a new pope is chosen when the paper is burned alone and the white smoke announces the decision to the world. The chimney on the roof of the Chapel is watched by millions of people around the world to get a glimpse of history. On Wednesday, a seagull perched on the chimney for part of the day oblivious to the fact that many millions of people were watching its every move. The seagull became a topic of conversation on the Internet and on cable news. People began taking photos of the bird and everyone in St. Peter’s Square and watching around the world took notice of it. For a few moments the clueless seagull was a star. It didn’t know the significance of where it had perched: it was simply a nice spot to land. The seagull wasn’t concerned about the future of the Catholic Church: it was just looking for its next meal or a place to nest.
Sometimes in life we are the seagull. Everyday important things are happening around us and we are missing out on them because we are concerned with the daily grind of life. Some of us are so caught up in work that we are missing our kids growing up. Some of us are so caught up in entertainment that we are missing out on spiritual growth. Some of us are so caught up in the details of daily life that we are missing the beautiful, big picture that is happening all around us.
Resolve this morning: don’t be the seagull. Be truly present in your life and take full advantage of the opportunities you have to grow and build relationships. Some moments happen only once and we must be paying attention to receive their reward.