There was an e-mail waiting for me when I got to work this morning. It announced the presence of visitors on campus. Signs were posted on doors to conferences rooms and offices. They announced the names of students and committees of three ministers underneath each name.
Students traded their casual clothes for new dresses and suits. One man stood outside my door, tie pulled tightly around his neck. He tugged at his collar several times as he paced the floor outside my door. His hair was freshly cut, each one neatly brushed back and in place. He's shy. We've only spoken in the halls. Today he looks shiny, and handsome, and uncomfortable. After 10 or 15 minutes that lasted a year, he was called into the conference room. When he emerged a few minutes later, he ripped his tie loose as he walked out the door. A smile graced his face, he breathed easy for the first time all day.
It's called in-care, but students dread it. How can the process be caring, they wonder. "Will they ask me about my christology?," I hear a new student ask a veteran. "I'm not sure what to say if they ask me about my christology. I mean, I believe Jesus' teachings point us to the truth, but do they care if I'm skeptical about the miracles?" The older student assures her.
Another woman walked in, dark hair concealing the grey that was peaking through last week. She's lost weight and it shows. I'm accustomed to seeing her in khakis. Today she is wearing a jumper that stops just above her knees. She stands tall and proud. I have to look twice to recognize her and only when she speaks am I sure. I wonder if the confidence she's found in the way she looks comes through in how she presents to the committee.
I met my boss as I left the building. He was in charge of the day's interviews. He wearily mumbled goodbye, and said something about another day of interviews, and loosened his tie as he stepped into the warm sunshine, turning his face to the sky letting it refresh him as we walked to his truck.