We meet all types of people throughout our lives. I want to talk a bit today about two specific kinds, kindred spirits and sandpaper people.
Kindred spirits are those people whom I have met and felt an instant positive connection with, as if we have known each other forever and are happy to see each other again. Not a soul mate, that is a different kind of person all together and not what I'm talking about. It can be someone we talk to briefly in line at the checkout, a co-worker, or even a doctor. These are the people who I think are God's messengers, letting me know that He is thinking of me and sending the kindred spirits to keep me moving in a positive direction, even when times are very difficult. I love these messengers and it's almost like a game to find them in the most unlikely places.
Sandpaper people is a term I picked up from a sermon once. I think it very accurately describes those people who we encounter anywhere--in line, at work, on the street. They are the ones to whom we have a visceral reaction--not of fear, but of just a negative feeling. Someone who "pushes our buttons" or is just difficult to talk to without feeling frustrated. These are the people sent to smooth out some of our rough edges, make us stop and think about those parts of ourselves that maybe need a little work that we'd rather not do. I'm not fond of these messengers but it's impossible most times to ignore them.
I encountered many sandpaper people last week, one on a daily basis whom I generally find I can ignore. But last week there were just too many of them and that daily one really rubbed me raw. The salve of friendship and a kindred spirit or two soothed me, and I am able to see the work that needs to be done. As I work, I'll be looking out for those kindred spirits--I like them so much better!