His silver hair imperceptibly blended with his gray herringbone suit. He was perched behind a mahogany desk, pen in hand and notebook in front of him. He looked up at me from behind his reading glasses, his smile wrinkling the well-worn creases around his eyes and lips. He was the third professor to interview me on this day of my medical school interviews. “Welcome, I’m Dr. Smith. Tell me about yourself!”
I happily obliged and launched into a well-rehearsed elevator pitch summary of my long exciting life of twenty-one years. As I was speaking, the professor kept looking down as he doodled on his notepad. When I finished my answer, I expected to be battered by probing questions. Instead, he continued to doodle and mumbled mundane questions like, “Yes…so you are a biology major?” I tried to remain animated, recounting stirring highlights of my research in molecular biology. His response was the same, doodling and barely looking up. During an uncomfortable interview, a few seconds of silence can feel like an hour; this interview was taking weeks. I was annoyed that he seemed so disinterested in me and dejected that he probably would not consider me a qualified applicant. As I searched for something interesting to ask, the professor stopped his doodling and looked directly at me. “I think we’ve spent enough time talking about you. What can you tell me about me?”
Was he kidding? I barely divulged anything about myself and he was now turning the focus upon himself? I paused for a moment. I usually make it a point to quickly survey the workplace or office of any new person that I meet. At the least, it can provide me with clues about their lives and interests. I needed all of these insights now! I nervously shifted in my chair and carefully chose my answers.
“Well…” I slowly began. “I think you are very dedicated to this medical school.” A safe answer, I thought, judging from the dates of his medical school diploma.
“I think medical students and residents probably feel comfortable speaking to you, seeking you out as a mentor.” There were several photos of him posing with younger medical residents, but I was reaching now.
I was frustrated at this point and blurted out what was really bothering me about this interview. “And….you like to doodle.”
That did it! His eyes opened wide and I wasn’t sure if he was going to yell or laugh, but at least my observation evoked an emotional response from him.
“Oh! Heh…” He was clearly embarrassed. “Yes….I like to doodle! One of my vices. Very good!”
And with that response, the interview abruptly ended. A few weeks later, I received an acceptance letter to this medical school. I could only surmise that he appreciated my insight into his vices and complex personality!
You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.
Psalms 90:8 (ESV)
Subtle clues to a person’s life may be revealed with casual observation. Yet, the deeper secrets of the heart may remain hidden. It was no challenge to observe this professor’s bad habit, but I truly did not know him. Like other people I meet, they also may stumble upon or be annoyed by my bad habits, but my truly dark and hidden side, my secret sins, are known only to God. If they knew even an iota of these sins, I would undoubtedly be shunned and ostracized by my friends and loved ones. Only by confessing and repenting of these sins and accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, did I finally find peace with my life and God.
Only God can truly tell me everything about myself. He allows me to tell Him my secret sins so that He can forgive me and transform me into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.