Recently, my husband and I found ourselves refinishing the hardwood floors in our house. Though we knew it would be tough, we did not anticipate all of the problems we would have and how long the process would take. Now, I look at the floors and think about what they taught us, not just in the “how-to” sense, but also in the “life lessons” sense. These are five lessons I remind myself of each time I particularly notice my hardwood floor.
We would probably still be finishing the floors if not for the help of family. Direct help with the project and babysitting were two ways we had to accept help. No one can do it all by themselves. Remember to ask God for help, too; whether it’s physical, emotional, mental, or all of the above, God wants to help you. Just don’t forget to ask.
Take the time to do it right.
Once you put down the polyurethane, the only way to “undo” it is to go back to the beginning of the process. Unfortunately, there are many times in life that aren’t just difficult to do-over, but are impossible. From raising kids to making a first impression, you can’t go back and do things differently. You’ve got to take the time to make sure you get it right the first time.
Don’t expect perfection.
Sometimes good enough really is good enough. My husband and I tried to keep reminding ourselves that these are 60-year-old floors. They are not going to be perfect. Getting them to about 85% perfect would be fine. I try to keep that perspective daily, too. I am not perfect. Most days I know I don’t even make it close to 85%. But I keep trying to do my best and find satisfaction in that. A friend of mine once reminded me, “Don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good.” I love the truth of that line.
Know when to quit.
Just like when we were trying to get the old stains out of the floor, you have to know when you’ve done all you can do. When it seems like the harder you try the worse the situation becomes, maybe it’s time to walk away. Sometimes doing nothing is the best thing you can do.
In the end, it is worth it.
While in the midst of refinishing the floor, I repeatedly kept asking myself why we ever decided to do this. It was a long, tiring, seemingly endless process. I have other areas of my life that can be physically, mentally, and emotionally tiring, too. It can be hard to see the reward in the midst of the struggle, but if we persevere, it will be worth it.