I painted a small table to go in my remodeled kitchen to create a “keeping room.” I chose a dark charcoal eggshell paint instead of black, thinking that the dark black would be too dark.
I put numerous coats of the gray paint on the table in all of the nooks and crannies, and being a wine rack table, there were many of those. After I had covered the table with multiple coats, I decided that black would, indeed, look better. Back to the store for more paint and a new brush.
The black did look better, and for several afternoons in a row, I painted the legs, the sides, the undersides. I turned it upside down and painted the bottom sides that nobody would ever see. I made sure that every surface was not only covered once, but got a double coat.
Finally the table was finished and completely dry. I turned it, rotated it, flipped it – checking and double-checking to make sure I had not missed a section.
I did this for a week. It was right by the back door, so every time I went in and out, I checked it.
I brought the table inside, put wine bottles in it and a lamp on top of it. I stood back and admired it. I had a party. I had another party. The table was perfect.
Until today, when I discovered that I missed a spot. A big spot. A spot right on top, on the very first rung.
And then it hit me. This is a lot like life. You think you’ve got it all covered. You check, double-check, twist, turn, rotate and flip. You’re sure you covered everything.
But you didn’t. You missed a spot.
And instead of calling myself stupid, careless, idiotic, I pondered what lesson I could learn from that. As I’ve gotten older, I’m finding there’s a lesson in just about everything.
Instead of being annoyed because I’ve put the paint away and tossed the brush, I’m going to leave that spot just like it is. Maybe to keep me humble. Maybe to remind me I’m not perfect. Maybe to remind me that when I think I’ve checked all I need to check, to look one more time.
Because as hard as we try in life to cover all the bases, the chances are pretty darn good that we missed a spot. And we have to decide whether to start over, patch it, fix it, or leave it alone.