Our first big tasks once we owned our new home were to take down the walls we wanted gone and gut the kitchen. After that, we planned to have our floors refinished, which is why we didn’t move any of our furniture onto the wood floor when we first moved out of the rental house. Due to some projects taking longer than we planned, we thought we were going to have to wait a couple of weeks longer than we wanted to have the floors refinished. However, when Joseph called to schedule it, they happened to have a cancellation and they were available to refinish our floors while we were out of town visiting family and celebrating our first anniversary.
I’ve had a few friends ask if, while in this renovation process, we’ve had any surprises like you see on all the television shows - asbestos, water leaks, termites, etc. - and we are grateful that those surprises have been minimal thus far. We’ve had a few mystery wires (mostly accounted for now), some strange plumbing, and such, but that’s about it.
Except…with the floors.
Thankfully, we didn’t know much of what was going on until after the fact, and what we didn’t know didn’t end up eating into our renovation budget. We were mostly out of cell service on our anniversary trip, so when we were driving back to VA from TN, we finally got a look at the photos from our floor guy - the hardwood was refinished beautifully. Upon arriving at home, we saw LOTS of sanding pads in the dumpster beside our house as well as a lot more sanding dust/wood than I thought would be there. That said, the floors really did look good. Joseph finally got the full story when they came back to finish putting our doors on the hinges.
It turns out that our floors had experienced a decent amount of strange coatings in its lifetime, and we’ve discovered that’s not how you should treat hardwood - leave the layers to the cakes! (Now I’m hungry, but don’t yet have an oven to bake a cake in.) At any rate, there were several coats of both oil and water-based polyurethane as well as a layer of wax. The top coating was flaking off like dead skin after a bad sunburn. What should have taken the workers one day of sanding took THREE, and they used way more polyurethane when he re-coated our floors than is normal - it just kept soaking it up. We’re very grateful for the extra work and care that was put into making our floors look great, and we’re additionally thankful they didn’t charge us any extra for the added work and materials.
I’ve often thought the parallels between spiritual growth and home renovation were intriguing, and this instance was no exception. (In other words, expect more renovation-related lessons in future blog posts.) In my life, I’ve done a lot of things that could be compared to layering finishes on a floor. For instance, covering issues over and over with various things to try to make my problems look less like problems. Trying to hold my tongue to make sure I don’t say something offensive could be a good thing, but if I’m doing it just to “look good” to others, that layer is going to wear off, flaking in some pretty unsightly ways. In my own strength, I don’t have perfect self-control. A hurtful remark is bound to slip out.
We read in the Bible that the Pharisees did this sort of thing a lot. They looked great outwardly - devoted to the Law (and then some) - but their hearts were far from God and hardened by layers of pride, lust for power, and the praise of men. It takes the work of the Holy Spirit to sand away the undesirable layers coating my heart so that it can be restored to what God intends it to be. The more layers I put on (and the crazier they are), the more God will be removing, and it’s not a fun process. Thankfully, as it says in Philippians 1:6, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” My fixer-upper heart is a project Jesus signed onto willingly, knowing full well what I’ve done and continue to do to try to fix myself.
Now, back to our renovations!