Monday, April 11, 2022

Lumps, lines, and lessons

Salvador tucking the carpet under the baseboard

It's amazing how something so little can be so aggravating. As a typical type A personality, I like things to be perfect, or at least as close to it as possible. So after 8 years of living in our current home, as things began to look "not so perfect" any more, I had to do something about it. 

First came the settling cracks. I was told they were typical of a new build. As the home began to settle onto its foundation, tiny cracks would appear at stress points. No problem! I'd been trained in mudding and taping sheetrock way back in 2011 as I prepared to go on a mission trip to Alaska. I knew I could fix those little cracks with no problem, and I did. 

Next came little nicks and dings on the walls from moving furniture about. Along with those came tiny fingerprints from happy grandchildren. Again, no problem. I could patch and I could paint. Those little fixes were a breeze. 

But when I started noticing lines and ridges in the carpet, I was not happy. In fact, the more I focused on those imperfections, the more irritated I became. Oh, believe me, I'd watched hundreds of YouTube videos on using knee kickers to push out those lumpy places and if I'd had one of those tools, I would have certainly tried it, but I knew this was a job for professionals. Of course, I didn't know any carpet stretchers so I got on the computer and pulled up Angie's List. They were supposedly the host of reputable repairmen, or so we thought. We made an appointment to have men come out and tackle our problems and we thought we were getting a good deal. We were told we'd only pay $300 for having the issues in 5 rooms addressed. The places that needed help weren't big, but they were bothersome to me - a veritable eyesore. I wanted those places fixed and wanted them done yesterday. 

The men came and seemed to be doing a good job. They pulled out a knee kicker and got to work. After 30 minutes, they handed me the bill. I looked over their work and the carpet seemed to be smoothed out well, so I paid them. Little did I know, their fix was only temporary. Weeks later, the lines, lumps, and bumps eased back out and again, I was upset. 

Two years later, we'd still not gotten around to having another carpet person come out to fix the floors. At the first of March, I made a plan. I was going to have those problem areas gone or else! So I got on Facebook and asked my friends if any of them could recommend a reputable company. I wasn't going to go through Angie's List again after the last fiasco. One friend reached out and gave me the name of the person who'd just done work in her house. I got the number and called the same day. 

When I spoke with Mark, he was on a job. I could hear him shuffling the phone from shoulder to shoulder as he talked with me. Oh sure, he could do the job, but he couldn't do it for at least a month. They were booked solid. I told him that was okay, I just wanted the work to be completed before Easter since we'd be having company for the holiday. He put me on the schedule for Saturday, April 9. Well, the week before my scheduled work date, I reached out to confirm the appointment. Mark responded with a change. Due to a delay from the plumbing installation on a new home, one of his big jobs hadn't been able to have been completed by the deadline. He was going to have to push my job out another day. Instead of coming out on Saturday, as originally planned, my job wasn't going to be done until Sunday - Palm Sunday. I wasn't happy about that. We'd have to miss church and Palm Sunday was a special day for us, but we had no choice so we agreed. 

Early Sunday morning, my husband and I rose at 7:00 a.m. because the workmen were to arrive by 9 and we wanted to be up and enjoy our coffee before they came. 9:00 came and went, no workers. At 9:40 a.m. our doorbell rang. A small Hispanic man stood there. He said, "I'm Salvador. I'm here to do your carpet." We were surprised. Mark (the owner of the company) wasn't coming. He's subcontracted the job to Salvador. 

We wondered, as we ushered Salvador into our home, how he was going to do the job alone. He was a tiny man, no more than 125 pounds. There was furniture to move and Mark had assured us his "team" would handle it all - no problem. Apparently, he forgot to mention that to Salvador because Salvador told me, through broken Spanish, that Mark had told him the rooms would be empty! Talk about miscommunication! 

To make a long story short, Salvador was gracious and he was a very hard worker. He was here an hour and a half and never stopped once. 

We watched him use his power stretcher to push the carpets into place and watched as he used his little body to slam against the knee kicker forcing the carpet into corners before trimming with a super sharp Xacto knife. 

Salvador's hammer and knee kicker

As he worked, I made sure to make small talk with him. Standing outside each room, I'd ask him questions about himself and his family. I learned he came to the U.S. from Mexico and had lived in Texas for a while before meeting and marrying his American wife. I learned he had 3 children, 2 were his wife's from a previous marriage, and one was theirs jointly. Salvador was soft spoken but didn't hesitate to talk about his life. He'd been doing flooring work for the past 24 years and his wife was a hair dresser. I enjoyed getting to know him. 

When he'd finished the job, he asked me to check his work. Everything was perfect and I was pleased. 

Salvador asked for a glass of water and I quickly obliged. He mentioned he was diabetic and had been struggling with his health for the past few years. I asked if I could pray for him before he went and Salvador quickly agreed. My husband and I stood with Salvador in the kitchen and I placed my hand on his thin shoulder. Slowly he removed his ball cap and bowed his head, ready for me to pray. 

I had no idea what to pray so I asked the Holy Spirit to guide my words. I wanted to pray for specific needs this hard-working man had mentioned but I also wanted to let him know how much God loved and cared for him. I don't remember the exact words I prayed but I know I asked God to watch over and protect Salvador and his family, to bless his health, and to help him know that God sees him even when he feels all alone. 

Before Salvador left, I gave him a small New Testament and asked him if he believed in God. He said he did and I was happy to hear that. I'd only planted a seed, but I knew God would water it and allow it to grow in the days ahead. 

I truly believe that every person we meet is a divine appointment from God. Either we are to minister to them or they are to minister to us. This day, was a joint blessing. Salvador ministered to me with his gentle spirit and his hard work ethic. I ministered to him by showing him kindness and love. 

I've walked into every room of our house this morning, thankful that all the lines and lumps are gone from our carpets. As I stood, looking down at the some of the loose carpet fibers leftover from Salvador's work, I couldn’t help but think there was a lesson to be learned from that experience, too. 

There are so many things we can't control in life. Most of those things are small and don't seem to matter until they accumulate. Satan loves to use those small issues to goad us and if we're not careful, those small things can turn into humongous things in a hurry. 

Salvador using the power stretcher

We'd dealt with the lumpy, stretched out carpet for two years past the last carpet stretchers failed attempts to repair it. I could have overlooked the issues and let them slide until we sold the house, but I didn't want to. Whenever I saw those places, they nagged and nagged at me. 

It may not have been a huge issue to many but for me and my perfectionism, it was major. 

I'm thankful Salvador came alone. I'm thankful he was a slight man with a sweet attitude. I was touched as I watched him work. I could tell he loved his family deeply and he'd faced many challenges in his life - not only health issues, but prejudice, too. 

I was raised to love people from all walks of life. I was taught not to judge. I'm thankful I could see Salvador through the eyes of God and be reminded that we are all precious in His sight. 

My hope is that Salvador left here yesterday feeling loved and cared for deeply. 

We prayed for him several times throughout the day and I'm sure we will in the days ahead, too. As believers, it's our responsibility to love and care for others always. We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus. 

One day, I hope to meet Salvador again, perhaps in heaven. I'm sure we'll have a wonderful visit and maybe we'll get to share a few laughs. 

Salvador was just a small, Hispanic man, but he could also have been an angel unaware. He certainly touched my life in the 90 minutes he was here. 

Looking at his hammer and knee kicker as they lay on the floor, I couldn't help but think about the hammer that drove the nails into Jesus' hands and feet. Today was the beginning of Holy Week. Today was Palm Sunday, the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, later in the week, He'd suffer immensely before being crucified. He'd be beaten, mocked, and falsely accused. I wonder if Salvador had any idea. If we'd had more time, I would have shared everything. 

I hope Salvador will read the small Bible I gave him. I pray he will. 

I’ve read my Bible every day of my life since I was old enough to read and still, I find something new in the Word each day. The Bible is alive and powerful! 

Material things like homes and carpets can make our lives more comfortable, but they won’t last forever. God’s Word does! I’m so thankful God gave us His inspired Word. It is my most treasured possession. 

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