Sandpaper People

I know a lady who could make anyone smile. I mean, she just makes you feel like you are the most important person in the world when she talks to you. She radiates. This woman looks like she has never said a cuss word or had a disagreement ever. The all time, ultimate embodiment of the Christian Woman.

One time, I was having the most awful day and was muttering curses under my breath at a gas pump. I look up and of course seeing me acting like a sailor of a sinner was the angel herself. We caught each others eyes and I apologized…a lot. She laughed. “I have had days like that,” she said.

I was shocked. There is no way this lady had ever had a day like I was having. I explained to her things that were going on at home and at work. I fumed about the little things like spilling coffee and breaking a nail. I was on a roll.

She just listened. And then she said something to me that I will never forget. She said that sometimes we have sandpaper people and sandpaper situations in our lives. Their coarse exterior wears us down, but in wearing us down, it also shapes us up.

She asked me if I knew what happened when sandpaper was used up. I nodded. Her point was that these sandpaper people may have been wearing me down and shaping me up, but they were also dulling themselves and getting worn out.

This lady got it. I finally felt validated. Until she said the three words no angry person wants to hear: “Pray for them.” I remember thinking of that song “I Pray for You” by Jaron and the Long Road to Love.

But I did it. And some days my prayers sounded like,

“LORD help those Heffers”


“Please make sure I don’t kill anyone today.”

But it started a habit. So, I kept praying. My enemies didn’t change. They were still sandpaper people. They were meaner and nastier as weeks went on. They took more and more from me and they got pettier and pettier over time.

My prayers began to evolve. They sounded more like, “LORD help me to expose you through the way that I treat others.”


“Help me to smile and be nice no matter what.”

My prayers didn’t do a stinking thing for my sandpaper people, but they worked wonders for my heart. In the end, it was my heart I would really have to live with. And in the end, I won! Sometimes my most selfless prayers do wonders to my SELF.

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