Statement #23 on the communication Self-Assessment test was, “I remember that I am still learning and it is impossible to be perfect.” The state was made for a near-graduating class of students who are about to enter the world and use the knowledge they’ve been given thus far. They’ll finally be working on real patients, with real issues and pains, who need real treatment. The statement caught me because I am a born perfectionist at heart. I refuse to do anything half-assed or way, and I hate to give the image that I’ve done so. Typically, this causes much more grief in me than it causes anything in anyone else.
So, I pondered the statement a few more times. My only requirement was to type up the test and have it ready for class the next morning, but this one statement had me self-assessing myself. I’m not sure where their marker is. You know, the “perfect” marker. At what point are they no longer learning? At what point is perfection possible? Ten years in a professional setting? Twenty years and five successful achievements? And, in turn, where is my perfect marker? What is perfection possible for me? A 40 year wedding anniversary? Two or three college degrees? Kids raised, groomed, and in college? My first Buick? Mastering the violin and oil paints?
If “he who began a good work in you will carry it on into completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6) is true for even me, I might have years to wait. In all reality, I might have days or weeks to wait. But if the people in Philippi can tell me anything, it could be decades and centuries. And besides that, what control do I have over “the day of Christ Jesus”? It is much better to make the conscious decision that each day and every day in between, I am still learning. Though I passed that test, though I finished that book, and though I accomplished this, I am still learning.
Regardless of the number of times I have done it right, I’m bound to forget the steps at least once more. Kind of like what Reese Witherspoon says in How Do You Know, “at least if you catch the mistake while you’re doing it, you can correct it”. My mistake is that I believe that perfection is possible. At least if I accept that it isn’t, I’m leaving a lot more room for a God who is perfect to correct it.
I remember that I am still learning and it is impossible to be perfect.