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View from the Pew: Test of a lifetime

February 02, 2001|By JERRY GODSEY

There I was, trapped in a small room. There were no pictures on the wall, and my "host" was behind me, out of sight. The technician wound cables around my chest area and attached sensors to the tips of my fingers. As he strapped on the last of his sinister torture devices, I thought I heard a maniacal laugh escape from his throat.

"The test will now begin," he said in a low voice. Over the next few hours — OK, minutes — I struggled to answer his questions. My mind raced. My heart pumped faster. My palms and armpits began to sweat. Finally it was over.

I had survived and passed my polygraph exam.

The new goal of my life is to never, ever take another one of those exams. Every time I answered a question, my mind raced, my thoughts accused me, and I freaked out. I don't think I have ever had as nerve-wracking an experience as that simple polygraph test.


I had to take the test for my new job. This past Monday I took over as the new crime prevention supervisor for the Imperial County Sheriff's Department. The first hurdle I had to clear was the job interview itself. I walked out of my interview thinking I had pretty well blown it, only to find out I was number one. Then the Sheriff's Department did a background check on me. It was pretty thorough. I understand they even interviewed a hamster I owned back in third grade. Sparky and I parted as friends. So he didn't hammer me to the investigator. I was sure that my past as a polka dancer would have been a deal-breaker, but the investigator either didn't find out about it, or is a closet polka dancer himself. I'll have to check that out …

After the background check, I had to take the polygraph exam, then a physical. The hardest part of the physical is the blood test. Those suckers are hard to study for. I even had to shave my beard off. Now I look like some kind of bald Cabbage Patch doll.

I shouldn't have worried about the polygraph. After all, if you tell the truth you're OK. So why did I worry? Good question. Maybe I'm just a ninny. Maybe I have deep dark secrets. No, the truth is, I have a fear of the unknown.

I had never had a polygraph, so it was a totally new experience for me. I didn't know what the machines looked like, what to expect, what questions they would ask. I knew nothing. It was very unsettling. It disturbed me to not know exactly what was going to happen next.

I used to look at my life the same way. Even though I was a Christian and knew that God was in control, I still worried about things I couldn't control. Then I came to a revelation.

I don't really control anything. Control is an illusion. We drive our cars and say we have control, but do we really? If the car goes down an embankment, could all of your "control" stop it? If you have a blowout or mechanical failure, you may find yourself at the mercy of the machine.

Scottish novelist and poet George MacDonald said, "No man ever sank under the burden of the day. It is when tomorrow's burden is added to the burden of today." Jesus gave us the assurance that we could handle today in Matthew 6:33-34, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (New International Version).

If I am looking to Christ as my source, I will be fine. If I am my source, I am in a lot of trouble! I have to keep reminding myself, "It's all about God. It's a God thing, not a Godsey thing." That makes it better.

In her book "Each New Day," Corrie Ten Boom said, "Somebody said to me, ‘When I worry I go to the mirror and say to myself, "This tremendous thing which is worrying me is beyond a solution. It is especially too hard for Jesus Christ to handle." After I have said that, I smile and I am ashamed.'"

Instead of worrying, I should have been looking for ways for God to shine. He has, and He will continue to do so.

So if you see a little van drive by that says "Crime Prevention" on the side, it is probably me or one of my cohorts off to speak at a school or some other function. And yes, we do have control of the van …

Polishing my new badge … Jerry

Jerry Godsey may be reached by e-mail at

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