Barking up the right tree
I don’t know about you but I have sensitive ears. Assorted noises tend to set the hair straight up my neck, sending my jaw into a stress-clad lock job. Among the common culprits: Nails on blackboards, shifting Styrofoam, head-banger rock ’n’ roll. Even the gleeful squeals of children can—in the right octave—cause my feet to leave the pavement.
Enter apartment living.
Such close quarters, when stacked one upon another and crammed side by side, create sound corridors that magnify, creating megaphones for crying babies, idling cars and revved up motorcycles, incessant bathroom exhaust fans, and furniture sliding across the floor (your ceiling) at all hours.
Then there are the dogs. Lots and lots of dogs.
We have been blessed by quite the pair—pit bull mixes, who are so social I wonder at times if one of their parents was a macaw. One has a high-pitched voice that makes me want to puncture my own eardrums. Their owner keeps them on their patio, adjacent to the parking lot. They love to greet everyone, the painters, carpet crews, trash trucks, tow trucks, delivery trucks, mailman, and even wild parrots, terrific noise-makers in their own right.
On and on it goes.
More than once Eugene has rescued me from their verbal onslaught, seeking refuge in a spontaneous car trip. Less than a month in the complex and I was ready to pack it in and out. And I hate moving.
I then did something radical. I went to daddy. “Lord, please help me with this. Either stop their barking or put blinders on my ears.” I know blinders are for the eyes, but God can do anything and guess what He did?
The next thing I know, I’m naming the dogs. Gus is the brown one. Dixie the white one, the one with the soprano voice. Once they have names, they also have their own personalities and, I discovered, tolerance increases when you are invested in God’s creation, even pit bulls!
They still bark, but they (almost) never drive me to the brink anymore. I could not tell you if they actually bark less or my ears hear less. When they get out of control I calmly talk to them in the confines of our apartment, well out of earshot of their owners (who might not take too kindly to their unauthorized adoptions). “Dixie,” I speak to the air, “You’re being naughty again. Calm down.” It usually brings a smile, and tranquility eventually returns to the Arnold casa.
This morning I was reading from Sarah Young’s best-selling devotion, “Jesus Calling.” Using Scripture, she writes from the voice of Jesus as He has spoken to her, and I’m amazed at how often her daily entries speak directly to my own life. Today’s topic was making friends with your problems. She writes:
“The best way to befriend your problems is to thank Me for them. This simple act opens your mind to the possibility of benefits flowing from your difficulties. You can even give persistent problems nicknames, helping you to approach them with familiarity rather than dread.” (Italics added for effect)
What situation is barking in your life? What circumstance is driving you to the brink? Thank God for it, then name it. Watch what happens.
No longer barking mad,