I walked in with confidence, plopped myself in the middle chair prepared for any logical question, as I mentally reviewed important facts. I could tell them what they wanted to hear and more. I could go on and on about what a great asset I was, the skills I gained that would help me, and I knew the mission of the organization and the reason I was such a great fit for the position. So as I glanced at the interviewers and they began to open their mouths releasing the first question, I was confident. But the words uttered were the worst interrogation imaginable and I sat in my chair, mouth opened and dumbfounded. The first interviewer, a very pleasant lady to my left, asked quite calmly “please just tell us a little about yourself”. Easy question right? I should nail this one! But my mind went blank. Who am I? How can I put into words the essence that is Maura? How do you describe the passion, the complexity, the thought? I began speaking; sputtering logistical facts that one would use in an obituary trying to grasp at a life that has passed. And this was not that far off because in those minutes I felt like I might fall out of my chair and die on the floor. I kept talking, although if you asked me now I had no idea what I was saying. My brain flew through the years of my life so fast that it seemed a vortex of memories, facts, and people.
Who am I?
I am: a daughter of the King, a child of God, a proud Catholic, a lover of family, food and anything funny. I love to laugh, I love to think. Life to me is a constant journey of knowledge. I love being active and competitive. Organization and cleanliness are important to me. I love kids and sunshine. I am a hard worker, very compassionate, but have a short rope when it comes to disrespect. I love following the rules but am not afraid to fight back when the rules are unjust. I am very non-confrontational, like being prepared, and the color yellow.
But after all this, which by the way none of which I could come up with in front of the panel of menacing eyes, would you still know me? This is my problem, being known.
This is something I struggle with because I feel being known is not something I can give to you, but it is something that you have to want. I must be open and allow you to search me, allow you to ask the questions and ponder the answers.
Celebrities for example, are often dissected by fans who spend so much time reading about them, fans who fill their mind with facts, uncovering secrets but after years of looking up when Nick Jonas birthday is and what’s his favorite color, his favorite movie, his struggles with diabetes, after all this do I really know Nick Jonas? No, absolutely not.
I know about him but I do not know him. This is also very true with God, you see we can spend years in classes and read books on theology and dogma and this will help us understand and better ponder God’s wonder, but we will not know God after this. Knowledge comes with relationship and relationship means being truly invested in the other.
Now I know the point of the question was not for me to really be known. The question was most likely asked so that I would spurt out facts for the interviewers to have a basis for understanding my experience and personality, but to me the question is like trying to describe a beautiful sunset to a blind person. No matter how many words I use, it’ll never be enough.
I think this was Jesus’ point when he asked the apostles “who do people say that I am” and then “who do you say that I am”. He wanted the apostles to realize that knowing about Jesus, where He came from, His family history, knowing facts wasn’t enough. He was trying to show them that in order from them to actually know Him they must have a relationship with Him, in order to be changed. And we must be willing to take time to get to know Jesus instead of putting Him on trial. We must stop trying to interview God and start to form a relationship with Him through prayer and the sacraments, because then we will not only be able to answer the question of who He is, but through this relationship we can discover who we are.