“Paul, this is a blessed house. My parents lived here with me for several years. We had many wonderful times together. I brought my wife home to start a family, and we are raising our children here. God has blessed me in this house.” It was said with heart, and a deep sense of family. He said it with pride and a strong sense of place. But he also had big circles under his eyes. He had not been sleeping well. We were three months into a remodel and he had just crossed the threshold of remodel weariness. It happens with almost every job, every customer and every contractor. We all swear it won’t happen–this time, all contractors swear, we’ll keep the project fresh and the customer will be so pleased. But any time you tear up a person’s home, you fill it up with dust, and you place the household under significant change in regimen, remodel weariness is almost inevitable.
Most people, when they reach this stage, resign themselves to the discomfort and the hassle. They just ride it out knowing even an endless remodel must surely conclude. This customer, however, was different. His home was so precious to him, and its place in the structure of his life so critical, that he was determined to preserve and protect. “Paul, I want you to do everything you can to help me preserve the sanctity of my home. I don’t want any bad feelings in my home. I want only goodness and happiness.”
His request was courageous and exactly appropriate. Some tension had arisen between him and some of the workers. Mostly it was misunderstanding, some of it was carelessness, some of it was a result of minor protocol violation. None of it was serious and there was no threat to his safety or to the quality of the work. What he was talking about, however, was just as important as safety, and just as long-lasting as quality work. He was talking about the feeling of a home. How you feel in your home is more important than any color, any trim detail, any high end finish. To have a blessed home is to believe nothing is more important in your life than a sense of belonging, a sense of family safety and a sense of loving community in the building that is your home.
I felt like we were already doing everything we could. But when a man expresses such emotion, such earnest dedication, you crank up your commitment a few notches. We devoted ourselves to more communication. We revised our schedule to accommodate some of his concerns, and the whole team rededicated itself to preserving the “spirit” of the project. The project “mood” quickly changed for the better. Problems were solved. The work progressed nicely. His house remained blessed.