Nope... Not that kind... (I live with a Star Wars fan, what can I say!)
Not that kind either...
I'm talking about the people who come into your life that are less than... enjoyable. The ones who make your eye twitch. The ones who "rub you the wrong way"... like sand paper. They are rough, abrasive, and make things uncomfortable. But, while being sanded is uncomfortable, it is necessary. These are the people God uses, if we let Him, to smooth out our own rough edges. Every now and again, God even sends a chisel to take care of larger impurities in our character.
Maturity begins to happen when we can learn to appreciate the sand people. When we can thank God for them. When we can love them. Not just tolerate. Not just put up with. Not just endure. Really love.
Does this mean you need to be best pals? No. Does this mean that if someone has knowingly hurt you more than twice (indicative of a behavior pattern) that you need to keep coming back for more? No. It means that you can kneel before God's throne and intercede for them with a genuine heart. It means that you can give them a genuine smile on a Sunday morning.... or any other morning...
It also means we need to come to a realization that we are also someone else's sandpaper. We're all sand people. As such, if we want to be forgiven for rubbing someone the wrong way, even to the point of raw, then we need to forgive those who scrape us. The best way to make the world more compassionate, more forgiving, less abrasive, less rough, is to become that very thing. Pointing a finger will seldom produce conviction at the other end; setting the example, however, often will.
We also need to focus not in the now, on the slow, grinding, nagging pain, but rather, on what it will turn us into. Something smooth, beautiful, like a hand-carved bannister in a historic home; smoothed and polished by generations of hands, some loving, some calloused, but all taking part in the refining and the creation of an heirloom.
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I likewise think of the natural, organic masterpieces of driftwood sculpted by waves, storms, stones, sand, salt, wind, and sun (Son?) that can be found along the countless miles of pebbled beaches of the Puget Sound. You may find a keepsake walking stick, fuel for a memorable beach fire, make-believe weapons for mini warriors, a fishing pole, or, for local artisans, even large pieces that become notable works of art, furniture, jewelry, and decor.
I know I'm smoother than I ever used to be but I'm so far from polished, refined, or beautiful. However, I long to eventually be so. How easy it is to forget that prayer and to grumble about the process. May God help us all to stay focused on the goal so we can submit to the sanding and may we become thankful for those He uses to do so.
"In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls." I Peter 1:6-9