It was two a.m. and pulled a pillow over my head, trying to quiet the low-pitched cadence of the dog barking in my dream. I woke up and realized the bark was real. Lying still and concentrating, I tried to will the dog’s owner into bringing his pup indoors.
What’s wrong with people? Are they so oblivious that they let their dog stay out in the cold all night?
After several minutes, I realized the rude interruption was not going to stop. Sleep was out of the question, so I considered several possible scenarios: I could drive my car around the block and ring the neighbor’s doorbell. No. That would mean I’d have to get dressed and go out in the cold. I could call the sheriff’s department, but a barking dog is no way to burn my currency with the law; I’d save a call for something more important.
Coming up with no ideas, but getting further and further from a decent night’s sleep, I dragged my body into the bathroom and opened the window. From my upstairs bedroom I looked way down onto the neighbor’s back yard and hollered, “Shut up!”
I glanced down to where the neighbor’s dog should have been, but didn’t see any movement. Nor did I see any porch lights flick on. The fog in my brain lifted and I recognized the bark. That was my dog’s bark. But my dog was sound asleep in her bed outside my room. Suddenly, the reality of my mistake entered my brain as I felt my thoughts screech out of judgment and into chagrin.
It was my dog downstairs looking out the sliding glass door and barking wildly at a cat or a fox. Her bark was so loud that even though she was indoors, all the neighbors could hear her. I put her in my son’s room where she wouldn’t be distracted by critters. Back in bed, I reflected on the lesson God had once again brought to mind. Before judging, first consider grace, for you might be the recipient of whatever you deliver.