Now that I’ve understood my calling, you’d think it would be easy to answer. It’s not.
A calling demands a response. Things change. People change. Callings can change. The need to respond doesn’t cease because I want it to stop or because I’d rather ignore it. Not responding feels frustrating. It’s the choice I’ve made for the last few days and I haven’t been happy with my self.
I feel like writing but I don’t make the time.
I dread going back to my day job but I don’t take action toward making a change.
I think about eating better and exercising and then pop in some toxic microwave dinner and put my feet up instead of making a good home made dinner and taking a walk.
As I’ve sat at my computer, working on odds and ends and fighting the urge to play mindless games on Facebook, I’ve had to listen to a neighbor’s dog. The dog is obviously unhappy. Apparently, during the day, it has the run of the house and yard. It frequently emerges and starts a frenzied barking that lasts for 10 to 15 minutes at a stretch. Barking alone isn’t the problem, it’s the sound of the bark. This dog is desperately trying to communicate its needs and no one is responding. When the dog is barking from the other side of the neighbors fence, it is about 10 feet away from my open window.
I’ve tried going outside and using a calm voice to ease its anxiety. It only made it bark worse. I’ve used my firm mom/big dog voice commanding it to stop since I am the alpha female. The dog didn’t get the memo about my being appointed alpha and again, the barking worsened.
Finally, during my most challenging time of day, the barking got me out of my chair and on the neighbor’s front porch. No one answered the door. I think he was home. Maybe he didn’t feel like answering.
I made a decision to write a note. I firmly taped it to the door. I wrote:
You may not be aware that when you’re not home, one of your dogs barks almost constantly. This is very distressing to hear since both our offices face your yard and with the warm weather our windows are open. Please, do something to quiet the dog. I don’t want to file a noise complaint but I will if this barking continues.
Okay, so it was short and to the point. I’m not very warm and fuzzy after listening to a distressed dog for hours. I hate confrontation and had avoided complaining until the moment when I had enough and decided to be assertive. Don’t most of the self-help books encourage us to state our needs in a clear, yet calm manner?
Later that evening, I was to learn that my neighbor apparently hasn’t read any of those books. When I took our dog out for an evening potty break, I hear the voice of my angry neighbor. It was hard to make out all the words. What I did hear was “letter” ,”dog”, “I can’t handle this”, and “What am I supposed to do? plus a lot more indecipherable words hung around a stream of obscenities that not only made me blush but also made me feel genuine fear.
For less than 24 hours after my ill-received note, the dog was quiet. This was simply an unexplained lull. This afternoon, the dog continues to bark, its piercing, shrill bark, demanding attention.
This is not fun for me. I hate conflict. Over the years the house next door has blessed us with a wide variety of people as neighbors. We’ve always gotten along.
I’m upset because the neighbor doesn’t respond to the dog’s needs and I have to helplessly listen. I’m upset with myself because I don’t respond to my needs. Some times a call is a bark in more ways than one.