Day 175 ~ 177 Days of Unexpected Health Project

Sanding Down to Health

I am a very tactile kind of learner. I have to feel my way through life both physically and metaphorically. I am sensitive to textures, picky about fabric (strictly from a comfort standpoint), and basically just love to touch people, animals and objects that are in front of me. Well today, I discovered a deep appreciation for a texture I often dislike. In fact, I realized that there is an abundance of Unexpected Health to be felt…in sandpaper.

I used to hate sandpaper. Whenever I had to sand anything down (walls, wood), I would get chills from the noise the paper would make against whatever needed sanding. It was almost as unnerving of a sound as nails on a chalkboard. However, sandpaper does possess some healthy qualities: sandpaper smooths out rough surfaces, creating comfort and ease of use. Sanding further defines an object, making depth and meaning out of shapeless blocks. And using a bit of sandpaper can prepare a wall for a fresh coat of paint, which is healthFUL in and of itself (see Day 24 for a refresher). But the Unexpected Health in sandpaper is that when we are ‘scratched’ by the roughness of life, we have the opportunity to experience life…and feeling the health from the hurt is healthy.

Let me explain: I have fooled my readers a bit tonight. Yes, I have been in the presence of sandpaper more often this year than any other (evidently painting has become my new hobby). But tonight, as I grabbed my laptop, opened it up, and began to think about my day, searching for the less-than-obvious health, I was greeted with the sweetest pain I had felt in a while…my crazy cat, Bentley. She walked up, meowed in my face, and licked the top of my hand with her very sandpaperish tongue, before resigning to her favorite area of my bed to sleep (again, why her favorite spot is on MY pillow is beyond me!). I have to admit, her rough little tongue caught me off guard. I was lost in the details of my Wednesday when I felt that sandpaper kiss come my way. I was thinking about my conversations, my destinations, and my obligations, when suddenly, I was jilted back to reality. Ah, health is right here, right now. Bentley and her sandpaper tongue immediately reminded me that we don’t have to go out searching for health; it’s in front of our faces, all the time. The best part is that if we forget, life has a funny little way of sometimes ‘painfully’ jogging our memory.

We tend to think that sharp edges, rough textures, and not-so-smooth objects are ‘bad.’ We, as tactile consumers, are often drawn toward the smooth, the silky, the sleek. It is easy to forget that sometimes, the ‘rough spots’, the, “nails on a chalkboard” moments, and the sandpaper feelings cause us to grow the most. Life is not always silky smooth and sugary sweet; and that’s okay. Because no matter how rough the time may be, no matter how harsh the object may be experienced, it will not last forever. So the next time you come across some ‘roughness’ in your life, remember that it is all a part of your journey. We grow from the ‘satin’ and the ‘sandpaper’ times. But trust me, if you get the opportunity to experience a sandpaper cat kiss, take it! You will understand a little bit more just how painfully sweet this life really is. -Until tomorrow, Jaime

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