9:15pm. Neighbor’s dogs barking.
“How long has that racket been going on?” I asked, closing the door to the basement, as I emerged from the quietest spot in the house.
“Two hours or so,” came sick-all-day-half-comatose-on-couch-husband’s reply. “Maybe longer,” said the son.
9:33pm. “SHUT UP!!!” screamed the son of the dog owners out his own window, at his own dogs.
9:45pm. “Mommy, they won’t stop,” whined the 10 year old trying to sleep.
Ring the doorbell. (I don’t know their last name – and I lost the piece of paper with their phone number on it).
Woman comes to the door. “What?”
“Hi. I’m Nina Roesner, I live over there, your dogs have been barking for about two hours, can you bring them in?”
“I’ve been home for only an hour! There’s no way they’ve been barking that long!”
That might be true, given the state of the source of my information.
The dogs are literally coming unhinged, howling non-stop.
It’s very loud.
I stand there a moment.
“Okay. Well, regardless, it’s late, my kids can’t get to sleep because of them, and all the neighbors around us have kids who have school tomorrow. Can you just put them inside?”
“Well, I’ve been home for an hour. There’s no way they’ve been barking that long! I would know – I got home an hour ago!” she yells at me, clearly upset.
“Uhm, okay, whatever, but can you just take care of them now anyway?”
“FINE.” Door slams.
I turn away and walk home to go to bed. That could have gone better. Maybe if I’d been warmer, kinder… hmmm…
When I was working full-time, there were people who would deflect problems by changing the subject, focusing on something else, and refusing to take ownership or responsibility. They’d focus on some arguable other point, instead of the issue at hand. Children and teenagers, and husbands and wives do the same thing. Instead of focusing on their own sin, they levy judgment on other people. Okay, yes, I’m guilty of that, too. J
I’m going to write a note to my neighbor today. What? Yes, I’m writing a note.
I could have been much more loving and kind. I could have taken a few minutes to do some relationship building communication. I could have said something funny or kind instead of being brief and direct. I barely know this girl. We don’t even know their last names. Maybe if we had more relationship than what we currently have, she wouldn’t have been upset.
But what kind of witness are we if we don’t continually look for ways to honor God? And even when we choose to deal with a problem, choosing conflict, we need to love well and be gentle and kind.
And I flopped. And these are the same things that start fights in marriages and with our kids, when (even when we might be justified) we miss an opportunity to be kind and gentle, showing love.
1 Peter 2 captures some of this:
15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.16 Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.17 Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.18 Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. (emphasis mine)
Grrrr. I wish I could have a do-over.
I’m not happy with my behavior last night. So I’m going to write a kind note to her today, let her know I understand the barking dog struggle. We did own a beagle, after all. J
And honestly, there’s nothing in Proverbs 19 that relates to this event at all, least not that fully grabbed me this morning. Let me know if you see something, however! J Just being honest. J Hope you enjoyed the post anyway.
Dare you to take responsibility for your own actions today. Double-dog-dare you to teach your kids to do the same. More on that here. J
Glad for the journey. Thankful we are fellow travelers.
Love to you,