Feedback is an integral part of learning. In our childhood, we grew accustomed to getting feedback in all kinds of forms from all kinds of people. Friends were blunt on the playgrounds. Teachers made sure we understood her/his perspective. Parents gave us verbal, physical, and silent forms of feedback. I am sure that I did not always receive it with the same spirit it was given! I doubt that I heard the full message. I may have not appreciated its value.
I do know that along the way I thought that I had moved beyond the need for feedback. It could have been after my college graduation, when I thought I had enough feedback to last a lifetime. It could have been in my defensive response to feedback that came with the first serious relationship in my life. Whatever the trigger was, I stopped hearing what others had to say. I knew where I was headed. I would pick my moments of learning. I would filter the input in my life.
The primary person that paid a price for my decisions was my soul. Potential learning experiences were squandered and long since lost. Priceless gifts from others delivered with caring compassion were tossed without a thought. After a time, many that cared gave up and moved on.
A few continued to challenge me. They played the same role that others have before. “Paul and Barnabas didn't back down. Standing their ground they said, ‘It was required that God's Word be spoken first of all to you, the Jews. But seeing that you want no part of it—you've made it quite clear that you have no taste or inclination for eternal life—the door is open to all the outsiders.’” (Acts 13.46)
I reflect on where we are, myself included, and I find that the powerful and the weak, the confident as well as the fearful, those holding onto peace as well as others struggling with pain, all need feedback. Life is willing to give as much as we are willing to accept. Today is an opportunity window.