Meet Yip and Yelp
The neighbor in my backyard just got two beagles. I have no idea what their names are but we call them Yip and Yelp.
These dogs howl at the slightest provocation. The neighbors on the either side of me are threatening to move. Or call the police. Or animal control.
The beagle’s mom and dad go to work VERY early and … you guessed it, Yip and Yelp are up VERY early, too. Howling at whatever nocturnal thing is moving in their backyard before dawn’s early light.
Dave and I have tried to make friends with Yip and Yelp, but they continue to howl at us every time we step outside or can be seen in the kitchen window. They have excellent eyesight to go with the well-developed vocal cords.
Now when they howl — we howl back – you know, just to be friendly.
It’s comedic. Someone should take video.
I wonder as I write this, how you think I should I handle this situation?
I could get all up in my neighbor’s face and say, “Do something about your dogs. They make so much noise!”
Problem is, I don’t know them all that well yet, and when they find out I follow Jesus, I don’t want them to be mad at him for the way I treat them.
Rewrite the story.
Instead of getting all upset over something I really can’t control, I tell myself a different story about the situation. An empathetic story.
What if Yip and Yelp’s owners are frustrated, too? Before Yip and Yelp lived there, two big, fluffy, lazy, quiet dogs roamed the yard.
I imagine Yip and Yelp are on their owner’s last nerve trying to keep them quiet.
Find something to be thankful for.
Instead of getting all upset about Yip and Yelp’s racket, I can be thankful for their alertness and their alarm toward all intruders. Perhaps their howling keeps the neighborhood protected from burglars, vandals and ne’er do wells.
Rather than let the howling annoy me, I can play along, make it a guessing game of what tune they are howling. It’s hard to tell, but that means I potentially always win.
Loving like I imagine Jesus would, being pleasant to my neighbors and not complaining about Yip and Yelp has opened the door to some lovely conversations with their owners.
Consider the obvious
Life is challenging enough without getting up in arms over every little thing. Or every noisy thing.
Sometimes you’ve got to rewrite the story, find something to be thankful for and play along in order for relationships to survive and for life to work.
You have to do your best Jesus imitation.
What about you?
What’s new or exciting or noisy or annoying in your neighborhood? Someone playing hide and seek with your lawn ornaments? Got a neighbor with Christmas lights up and on already? Is the guy across the street ever going to rake his leaves? What about the lady who parks right in front of your mailbox?
Life is messy, Friend. If you follow Jesus, don’t make him look bad. The LORD is counting on you to do your best Jesus imitation.
Verse for today: If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18 NIV
Prayer: Jesus, there are so many people in my life who challenge me. And your word tells me in 1 Corinthians 13:4-5, love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. You are love. You want me to be like you. Help me love like you do. In your name we pray, amen.