Every morning as I walk to my 10:40am class, I pass a murky, green pond next to Little Hall.  This is no beautiful body of water, in fact I would never have paid any attention to it if it wasn’t for the strange sound I heard coming from it one day.  A deep croaking noise emanated from the water.  I stopped for a second, then simply walked on.  It was an ordinary, forgettable thing.  It became extraordinary when I noticed this sound almost every day.  Soon, I was stopping and staring at this insignificant pond daily.  No one else seemed bothered by the noise besides me.  Regardless, every time I heard the peculiar noise, my eyes would scan the area, but I could never see anything but some plants and some cloudy water.

I thought I was going crazy.  Finally, in a last ditch attempt to salvage my sanity I walked with my roommate to the pond.  When we heard the noise together she told me it was an alligator.  She said it so casually, yet I was in shock.  I didn’t know that alligators made noises and why had I never seen the alligator?  My roommate couldn’t spot the alligator either, so least I wasn’t that crazy.  Yes, this is a true story and I still hear the gator almost every day and I still look for it.  I cannot tell you why, but this evasive gator is on my mind all the time.  I have not succeeded in spotting it yet, but I know that it is there and I desperately want to find it.

Then I started thinking.  I heard a sound and I felt a presence.  I knew something was there and I sought it out constantly.  In my confusion and doubt, somebody told me the truth of where the sound came from and now I listen more closely and search more ardently.  God does the same thing for us.  Each human being on earth has the potential to know God.  God speaks to all of us.  Many of us pass by God, like I originally did with the gator.  Some search to hear the voice of God without knowing who He is.  But, once we know it is Him our search becomes guided, purposeful, and zealous.  Though we cannot see, we are not blind.  What a beautiful thing it is to know that it is God!  How important it is for us to spread His Word!

So many people go through life hearing an alligator croak here or there, never being enlightened to know what it is.  Our curiosity and anguish due to not knowing the source of the noise encourages us to search.  Searching is tedious and not easy, however, and many of us will give up.  That is why those who have the gift of this truth, must spread the Word.  We must share the joy of what our faith tells us: you are not crazy, yes there is a sound, yes I cannot see it the alligator either, but yes I am sure it is there.  Yes, as Saint Augustine says, “our hearts are restless,” and yes I crave the presence of God as much as you do, and yes we will see Him one day if we continue our search.

And yes, I got all of this from an alligator, but is it not humbling to think that God intended this metaphor to unfold before my eyes?  Originating from such a mundane thing, God told me so much and we all have the potential to see God in the ordinary things. This gave “Catholic Gators” an entirely new meaning for me.  He also reminded me of the most basic pillar of our Catholicism.  Faith.  I still haven’t found the gator, but I am pretty sure it is there.  Of course, I sometimes wonder if my mind is playing tricks on me, but don’t we all?  It is true, God reveals Himself to all of us in different ways, but having faith is fundamental in knowing that God is with us.  But, if we still have doubts, which many of us do from time to time, He might just stir your “restless heart” with an alligator croak.

Written by: Kayla Thurber, Restless Heart Communications

Photo by: Trista Rada