The Dogs

Black and white dog sleeping on a tile floor.

This post could get raw, weepy, and contemplative reeeeal quick. Consider yourselves warned.

I’m losing a mind battle with the dogs. I tried to focus myself to write about something else, like the delicious cookies that I’ve been living on for the last two weeks, or how we had a typhoon day at school, or how I got my first haircut here, but all I can think about is how I never ever want to see, touch, and especially HEAR a dog ever again.

So I guess I’m gonna tell you about the dogs now.

Dogs in the dark outside.

It’s funny how, of all the challenges here, it’s the crazy, mangy barking dogs that are killing me.

Last night I was laying awake all night because our one billion stray neighborhood dogs were, for lack of a more offensive term, barking. Did I mention that our window doesn’t close? Nope, doesn’t close. Just slats of glass layered over each other. They’re very Filipino and usually they are nice for bringing in a hot, steamy breeze. But the bad news is that they’re very open and accepting of all noises. Dance beats until 5am? Come on in. Hammering? Moving furniture? Babies crying? There is no discrimination – all sounds, any time, day or night.

I generally don’t see myself as an angry sort of person, but this constant noise, the barking all the time, all night, is! At one point last night I may or may not have literally kicked the concrete wall with my bare foot. Realllly helpful.

In my head, I’m shouting mean things at the dogs. In my body, I’m exhausted. In my face, I’m crying. And in my heart, I’m wanting to go home, and I’m missing my big fluffy white bed and my quiet neighborhood and my other life.

And then, in my deepest heart, I try to let go of those things I hold to so dearly. Like sleep, and quiet, and comfort.

Except then a single dog barks and the spell of positive thinking is broken.

Hmm. I’m not very good at this.

It’s painfully ironic that I wrote a post literally entitled “Letting Go” about six months ago, just before we left. I’m smiling as I think about it because I don’t think I knew what it would be like to actually have to give up something that was truly precious to me. Maybe I didn’t even know what was precious to me.

Refrigerated milk? My car? Not that big of a deal.

But quiet? Quiet is precious. And I’m mourning the loss of my quiet and trying to accept that this new life includes dogs. The e8uriiwo3gjdksa;kluhlak dogs and their hs;dgjal4kjsktjhl barking.

Dog in the night with a shadow.

If I can calm down for one second, I can realize that I have a home. An air conditioner keeping me cool. A blanket for me to sleep under and a mattress to lay on. And most nights, a futon to resort to when I give up on sleeping. A funny, smart, cute husband sleeping soundly through the dog barking insanity (unnnnbelievable) who will make me a coffee in the morning because he knows I’m going crazy in the head.

Guess what? These beautiful kids that I see every day?

They’ve endured more than anything that can be wrapped up in words. They don’t have a mom and dad to hold them when they’re sad or when they can’t sleep through the night or when “the dogs” of their lives become overwhelming.

And they’re still just kids.

Young girl.

And yet – I’m not just saying this – they truly radiate hope.

It pricks my heart and it challenges me.

So will I hate dog barking for the rest of time? Absolutely yes.

But tomorrow is a new day, and we can try this all over again. Thank God.

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

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