I am a big fan of a hard look in the mirror. I willingly confess that I do not always like what I see. While I believe it is healthy, it is rarely easy. When I look with candor and openness I find myself taking away a long list of things that I realize I would like to change. My view of my aspirations sharpens. My awareness of the gaps in my life increases. The challenge ahead takes shape.
Life has an odd way of reminding me that it has been too long since I have had the tough look. The alert often comes though a channel I hate listening to, my enemies and detractors. Candidly, when they speak, “I’m deaf and mute to it all, ears shut, mouth shut.” (Psalm 38.13) While this protects my self-esteem, my reaction also blocks any chance of awareness, change, and growth.
A few months ago I had a meeting with a recruiter I had never met before. Our first meeting lasted almost an hour. I cannot remember anything positive. If there was a positive phrase, it was wrapped in a larger point of criticism. Candidly, it was a painful meeting. I could sense the darkness trying to dominate as each minute stretched into an hour. After a lifetime, I realized that he had torn everything he was going to tear.
I took a deep breath and found the only positive I could in the situation. “Thank-you for your candor. It is a gift one rarely receives. I have no idea what I will do with it, however I do want to acknowledge it and thank-you for the gift.”
It was a defining moment. I was forced to look in a mirror that I did not want to see. What happened next was left with me. I look back and realize that I received something priceless in that conversation. As critical as the words word, my acknowledgement framed a window.
The picture in our mirrors can bring wonder and pain. Whatever the case, with each is an invitation and opportunity.