October 28, 2010

Pat Pittman

JOB

He had it all—fertile farms, fine family—
and he gave thanks to the Lord in the proper ways,
and on occasion he would murmur to himself,
This, too, shall pass, though not so anyone would hear him.
And then, one day…it went.
Poof.
Farms gone, family gone, and Job
accepted loss as he had accepted the gain.
The tree that had grown strong under good management
still stood, though without all the bright surroundings.
And he murmured quietly, This, too, shall pass.
The storm shook the tree, but still the tree stood.

Then Job was assaulted by every sort
of sore and ailment and misery. And as he sat
in his dejection, he was attacked by
the Three Stooges, who kept battering him,
insisting that he must have sinned big time
to deserve all this shit. Because, they proclaimed loudly,
nothing happens that isn’t meant to happen.

But though truth may come from the mouths of fools,
they will never understand it.
Nonetheless, their castigations had their effect
on a sick and weakened Job.
He became angry. And then he became anger.
And he railed against his fate. Lashed out at God.

The storm morphed to a hurricane
and shook the tree to its roots.
It tore the leaves of anger from the tree,
and Job retained the sense to let them go.
The tree stood, bare and bereft,
but rooted more deeply than ever.

And Job bowed down and kissed the Center
to which he had been returned,
and dwelt there in Peace,
while bad times came, and went,
and good times came, and went.
And he would sometimes murmur,
This, too, shall pass.
It might have been carved on his tombstone.

from Rattle #24, Winter 2005

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