My new neighbors’ dog is barking once again. When they first moved in, I wanted to leap over the fence and throttle him. The dogs … because I hadn’t yet met the neighbor. He moved his three Pit Bulls in two days before they actually moved into the house.
The barking was constant and as annoying as it could possibly be. By the time I noticed the U-Haul sitting in the driveway, I was ready to let whoever was unloading it feel my wrath. My unpleasant self marched right over.
I have to say I’m a bit embarrassed how I ‘met’ the new neighbor. My first words weren’t ones of welcome and I didn’t have a smile on my face. Out of my mouth poured my complaint of how ‘Man’s best friend’ was a nuisance and how that barking had kept me awake two nights in a row. Two of my neighbors had already voiced their complaint to me and had called Animal Control, but that wasn’t a solution.
My ‘neighbor’ didn’t apologize, but met gruffness with gruffness. “The dogs would stop barking when they became familiar with the yard.” I just had to be ‘patient.’ Our conversation didn’t end with a smile or ‘nice to meet you.”
To tell the truth, the day I put my “Easter” church sign in the yard, I cringed a bit. “Hypocrite” echoed in my mind. I hadn’t shown kindness or forgiveness. I had let my tongue drip poison. I knew I hadn’t handled the dog situation correctly.
Thankfully, just a few days later while out in the yard, I was able to actually meet my new neighbors and apologize for the awful way I greeted him the first time. Justin and his wife, April, moved across town to what he described as a ‘nicer’ neighborhood. I found out the name of the dog that is staked closest to my yard is called “Pappy.” He has improved barking less, but hey, he still manages to let me know he’s out there.
Tonight, I heard a knock at the front door. Two little girls stood there, still in their school uniform dresses. One about seven and the other about six. They wanted to say ‘Hello’ to their new neighbor….me. I introduced them to my cat, Pippin, and my dog, Zoey. They seemed more impressed with Zoey’s smallness than Pippin’s largeness. Aliah and Peyton wanted to make my mom and I an Easter card. “Would we mind?” Those two tiny girls sweetly reminded me how neighbors should meet each other.
I feel a cookie baking spree coming on. I think I’ll shower a few of my neighbors with sweets this weekend. At this point, I don’t mind the occasional barking of “Pappy.” Good Friday is a ‘good’ day to show kindness and welcoming.
Isn’t it funny how small things can make us smile or rile us up?
On Sunday, our pastor reminded us that God is always good. He’s good in the good times and he is still good when times are tough. God doesn’t change.
Our perspective changes due to circumstances. How wonderful it would be to look beyond ourselves and our view of our own tiny life to see the amazing view God has of our world and how His plan unfolds.
I imagine going from a street view on Google Maps to a satellite view and zooming way out. Only God gets to see the tiny details unfolding and zero in on both the street view and the satellite at the same time. My mind is so miniscule, I can’t imagine it.
I only see a barking dog…. Thankfully, there’s God.