The other night our family dog, Bandit, was barking to beat the band. This is a new phenomenon. Usually things are pretty quiet on the farm, but something is triggering his need to bark. Maybe coyotes, as they do tend to howl—a lot—when the train is going by. Sometimes you would think they are right off the back porch. Naturally, Bandit started barking just as I was getting into that all important deep sleep.
The moment he begins barking I usually lie in bed, asking the Lord to quiet him down. The answer always seems to be “no.” Then I ask, “How come I am the only one in the house that hears him barking?” Of course this is a rhetorical question. Everyone else in the house knows that Dad is the one who gets up to make sure things are okay and to quiet the dogs. This is so ingrained into their psyche that, if for some unimaginable reason, I chose to not get up, they wouldn’t even know that Bandit had been barking all night!
I do like to sleep, but I also like to make sure that my neighbors can sleep too. Which is another reason I get up when the dog is barking. Do you know how cold it is outside at 2 a.m.? Cold. So I put on some sweats and a sweat shirt, grab a flash light, and head out towards the barking. I found Bandit out by the greenhouses, barking away. After calling him over and we walked back to the house. Even though he was 100 yards from the house, he technically was still in our yard – at least in his mind! I would consider that to be more of the farm and not the yard!
One benefit of getting up to quiet the dog, even though it is freezing outside, is the quietness of the moment (after Bandit quits barking). In that stillness, I look up and the sky is full of stars. I see the Big Dipper shining bright, bold, and magnificent. As much as I would love to still be asleep, in that moment I stand there mesmerized by the night sky—its beauty, its depth, its brilliance. I soak it all in and say, “Thank you Lord for letting me see the stars tonight.”
I head back in, but since I am awake I thank the Lord again for providing me with some great material for this newsletter, which I finished at 3:23 a.m. Good night.