You’ve heard that saying, yes? “Oh, look at poor Margie. Husband’s a drunk and kids are all on the dole. Got the patience of Job (pronounced Jobe) that girl.”
My mom – who’s been on my mind a lot lately because she passed at this time of year 16 years ago – used to say it all the time. Mom’s speech was also abundant with hyperbole – much like the latest impeached US president – but she never used it to deceive or be unkind. Here’s some examples from one of our last dinner outings, at a Mexican restaurant:
“This is the best coffee I’ve ever tasted.” “Look at the size of this glass of water. This is way too much! I’ll never drink this in a million years.” “Do you like Mexican food? I don’t. My friend Shirley loves it so much! Can’t get enough of it.”
As a child these extremes were alarming. Our family could go from having “the best day ever” to having the worst in zero to 60 seconds. As I grew, though, I came to realize that this was just Mom’s way – Dad always said she had the “gift” (of gab) – and I learned to decide for myself what kind of day I was having while tuning out Mom’s take on it.
Which is what, perhaps, the majority of Americans – as well as so many in the free world – do (or feel they must do) whenever the current president* tweets or opens his mouth. In response to Truth or Consequences my brother’s girlfriend, who refers to the president* as “he who shall not be named”, pointed out that the best way to train a dog – or even a kindergartner demanding attention – is to turn your back, ignore them, so as to not encourage bad behaviour. Less press might do the trick?
Even White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, in defense of the president*’s threatening tweet to House Manager Adam Schiff (“He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!”) suggests not giving his words much thought:
“People put meanings behind what he said. The president* speaks in a very unique way, he’s a counter-puncher, he’s saying what’s on his mind.” Hmmm. He’s “saying what’s on his mind”, which is dark, but people shouldn’t “put meanings behind what he said”? Conflicting, to say the least. After these types of comments and more than 15,000 false or misleading claims since taking office? Impeachment gets to the Senate, witnesses and evidence are turned down and Republicans lose it because most people can’t believe the president* when he says, “no quid pro quo”, “Parnas, I don’t know him” and his Ukraine call was “perfect”. Wow.
Since a great deal of patience seems necessary for at least the next several months, let’s get back to the story of Job. He was a wealthy guy, “blameless” and “upright”, living in Uz with his extended family and vast flocks. God brags to Satan about Job’s virtue, but Satan says it’s just because God has favoured him and convinces God to let him mess with Job in an experiment, certain that Job will end up cursing God.
Job gets four reports in the space of one day, learning that thieves and natural disasters have killed his sheep, servants, and ten children. Job tears at his clothes and shaves his head, but still praises God. Satan then inflicts him with terrible skin sores and Job’s wife urges that he give up God and die, but Job protests.
Three of Job’s companions come to comfort him, each offering their thoughts on his situation, seeming to suggest that he must have committed some evil act. As noted in the Bible Story of Job, Job becomes “bitter, anxious and scared. He deplores the injustice that God lets evil people thrive while he and many other honest people suffer.”
Injustice! Evil people thriving while honest people suffer! This is my point. This is what tears at me! I keep looking for justice and it won’t come! Should not our heroes be good? Honest? Decent? At least likeable?
God eventually comes to Job, commanding he be brave, explaining various aspects of His creation and, when Job accepts the limits of his mortality, he is rewarded with good health, property, children, a long life. The message? Never give up hope or faith.
In a recent Rich Roll podcast with actor Edward Norton, they discussed how belief in God is such a sure bet. If heaven doesn’t await? There is no God? You will have lived your life well, with kindness.
They brought up climate change in this regard as well. So what if some of the science is incorrect, if we don’t really know how fast the environment is deteriorating, or how quickly we can bring it back? Planting a gazillion (you’re welcome, Mom) trees, saving species and eliminating plastic are still worthwhile endeavours, yes?
Belief in “he who shall not be named”? I still don’t get it, but so many still do believe in him. I want to turn my back, but if he’s a bad dog, he’s a pitbull attacking, and, while he often acts like a kindergartner, he wields a shit ton of power and, for sure, he carries a knife.
As I’ve noted before, growing up this president* was told by his pa, “You are a king. You are a killer.” The Senate crowned him King USA. With the exception of the odd terrorist, let’s hope and pray he doesn’t take the killing thing so seriously.