I have now had three emails about a phrase I used in my Note called Born With It.
I reposted it the other day and it looks like people read it (because no one questioned the original post).
It is safe to say the topic of the e-mails is not the thing I expected to called out on, especially after I confessed my bizarre resemblance to Rutherford B Hayes. I do however realize how culturally insular the phrase I used is. It’s also wicked useful.
The phrase is:
Thou art not yet as Job.
One person wanted to know where to find it in the Bible and the other two basically wanted to know if I had forgotten to complete the sentence and what job I was talking about.
(HEY! Everyone who was ready to tune out when I wrote the word “Bible” bear with me. This is not a sermon or even overtly religious-beyond scripture as poetry-and as I said it’s actually quite a useful phrase, especially for Mentors, and come to think of it parents).
The phrase references the biblical poem of Job (pronounced Jobe).
If you are not up on your abrahamic allegory it goes like this:
So, God and the Devil are hanging out one day and God points to a guy named Job and says what a great human he is and how impressed the Devil should be with how faithful Job is.
The Devil says “sure he is faithful now. He has a great family and lots of land and money and his health (you’re nothing without your health), but take that all away and he will turn on you in a heartbeat.”
So they make a bet.
(I called this an allegory because historical religious literature is pretty clear about God and the Devil not being likely to chit-chat. If you need further proof just watch The Exorcist.
The point is if they don’t tend to shoot the breeze with each other, then wagering like this is way out of character.
I don’t see them getting together for supernatural game night.
So God let’s the Devil take it all away (kills Job’s family and bankrupts him and gives Job what reads as horrible hemorrhoids and acne; when is the last time you read it… tell me I’m wrong!)
It turns out that Job was a good bet because he keeps his faith and eventually gets his riches and a new family (that he seems to like better than the old one?).
That, my friends is Job.
This story appears in one form or another in all Abrahamic scripture. It’s in the Ketuvim, the Old Testament and the Quran so it has a lesson to teach. It is also a pretty read in all three.
Ok, so in the religion which I claim membership there is another book that we view as scripture (a couple actually) and in one of the books a prophet is… well, to put it bluntly, whining!
He is whining about how hard it is to be a prophet and how mean people were to the faithful worshipers. In truth, he couches it in a prayer for the benefit of faithful people, but when it comes right down to it he is frustrated for himself.
God sees though that and calls him on his whining by saying:
Thou art not yet as Job.
A phrase that I have always read as:
“Dude! If this is as bad as it gets, you’re fine.” (Just a thought, it COULD BE WORSE).
It’s a pretty well known phrase in my neck o’ woods, so I forget it’s not widely known.
But, like I said, it is handy.
It’s handy when you are working with a student in whom you see so much talent and potential, but so little motivation.
The student who thinks every exercise you give is too hard.
The students who whine that they don’t have time to practice the exercises you’ve assigned because they are “really busy,” but constantly lament that they feel stuck.
The students who are self-conscious and think you are mean for making them interpret in front of other people.
The students who’s potential is matched only by the number of excuses they give and volume of their whining.
When they whine about how hard their lot in life is, it is always good to be able to listen, show empathy and then say…
THOU ART NOT YET AS JOB.