“Remember, I am looking for you to test my solution.”
I am already appreciative that I have any solution. The idea that I can participate in making it better is a gift that I know I do not deserve. As I anticipate thinking through what can be improved, I find myself hearing the voices of others that have helped me. They gave me feedback in ways that helped me hear.
Feedback is more complete when it is done in person. When a writer noted that about “the other things you asked about, I’ll respond to in person when I make my next visit,” (1 Corinthians 11.34), I do not think he was avoiding the question. I hear a wise voice saying that his answer will be better if he was able to vocalize the answer.
Feedback always has a context. Ignoring the context opens up the possibility of hearing something that was not intended or is meaningless. Before one accepts the words blindly, take time to ask and clarify.
The best feedback comes in a spirit of trust. Trust can be two-way. The receiver is able to hear more if s/he trusts the motives in the feedback. The giver is able to say more if s/he can feel the receiver extending the hand of trust.
As I work with his solution, I find myself thinking of my feedback. I realize that feedback with trust, context, and presence is a priceless gift that one should always give as well as accept. With it, one has the opportunity to learn and grow. Additionally, there is a possibility that one can reach for something better.
I know it is not always easy to hear what another has to say. I understand that moving forward may involve letting go of the past without resolving every uncertainty. In the time one has with another, we have a window that is also an invitation. As I let them go by, I realize I have lost something even though I may not be able to describe what it is. Presence is a gift.