Sanding Me Down

sandpaperYears ago, a friend of mine was getting married and I was invited to the bachelor party. It was fairly tame, as bachelor’s parties go, I just didn’t have a lot of friends who were into the typical bachelor party fare. This one was held at Dave & Buster’s and it was all harmless fun. I think the worst thing that happened was after I left when someone decided that someone should get dropped off on one side of the Tappan Zee Bridge in order for them to run to the other side.

There was one thing from that bachelor party that stood out above everything else was what we were told to bring to the bachelor party. The best man had contacted all of us who were coming and told us to bring a gift to the party that represented your relationship with the groom. Wow! A gift that I really had to think about, since when do guys do stuff like that?

Well, this friend was kind of a challenge for me. We got along okay, there were a lot of things we had in common, music for one, but in my younger and less flexible days, his laid back attitude was enough to drive me crazy. We would butt heads on many occasions as we tried to figure out how to deal with each other. The relationship came to its largest boiling point when he was producing a CD that I was making and deadlines continued to pass and costs continued to rise. It got pretty stressful for me.

How do you find a gift that describes this kind of relationship? Where do you go? Well, no one ever accused me of being subtle, so it was to Home Depot that I would go. I knew exactly what I had to get. Sandpaper.

I can’t remember whether or not we were told before the bachelor party that we would need to give an explanation of our gift. I don’t recall being surprised when the opportunity presented itself at the party.

I remember standing up and looking at my friend and beginning to describe the present. How does sandpaper work? It quickly begins to take the rough edges off of whatever it is that is being sanded. The more you sand, the smoother it gets. The flaws, the imperfections, the things that are sticking out, they get rubbed away as the sandpaper is applied. I realized that my friend had acted like sandpaper to me. Over time, as we hung out, those imperfections, the weaknesses that I had in my life were getting rubbed away, they were smoothing down.

I’ve had other people in my life who have acted like sandpaper. I’ve got a lot of growing to do, but I’ve also grown a lot, and it’s been because of these kinds of people. I didn’t resist the sandpaper, I let it do the work that needed to be done, I let it begin to sand away those flaws, and I’ll continue to let it do the same thing as I grow more and more.

Unfortunately, I’ve met my fair share of people who resist the sandpaper. They don’t give way when the sandpaper is applied. Instead of having their flaws and imperfections sanded away, it almost seems like they get bigger. It could be because, as they’ve resisted, people have just stopped applying the sandpaper anymore, they’ve stopped trying to help work out the imperfections.

I hope that I never get to a point where I start to resist the sandpaper. I’m a work in progress. I’m still under construction. I’m glad for those people who act like sandpaper to me. They’re not always fun and exciting, sometimes the sanding is painful, but in the end, I become more like I’m supposed to be, I become a little smoother. And that’s a good thing!

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