Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Viewer Discretion is Advised

Last time around, I was pretty harsh on Zophar. Let me update you on where big Z and I stand:

His name: still awesome.

His friendship score: still zero.

His response this time around (Job 20): still pretty cool.

(Man, something within me really wanted to use Z's in all three of those points, but I just didn't have it in me.) Zophar's response to Job this time was bizarre beyond all comprehension, but he had some great zingers (. . . wait . . . still biZarre, still Zero, still had some pretty cool Zingers . . . YES!!!).

Okay, this has totally derailed; let me bring it back. Zophar gives Job the type of speech that, if this were a movie, would start with a crazed glare. The speaker would fix his enraged eyes on the offending listener. He'd pace around him and begin whispering, voice trembling with suppressed emotion and calculated vengeance. He'd state his emotions very coolly, describing how he had listened long enough and was now very angry. Then he'd give the quintessential Bond villain monologue, describing for the benefit of the would-be victim exactly what hideous fate will befall him. Every word is chosen for maximum dramatic effect. As the crescendo of fear builds, the volume of his voice grows steadily softer and slower until he finally rests upon one small word designed to deliver . . . excruciating . . . pain. And Zophar savors every syllable.

So in that sense, Zophar's rant is classically cool. And if his thoughts on the fate of the wicked within the construct of this world were accurate, what a beautiful little fairy tale it all would be. But he's supposed to be Job's friend, and he just doesn't understand. And yet again I'm becoming painfully aware that when it's obvious a friend of mine is in need . . . when anyone can tell the person is too hurt or too distraught or too emotional to think clearly . . . those are the times when I only pretend to listen. Those are the times when I know what they need to hear. Those are the times when I can really suck as a friend.

The truth is, the person who seems to have lost all touch with reality is the one I should be listening to. The person who is in too much grief to put up with the conventions we've all constructed to help make life bearable, that's the person who is ready to cast it all aside and look God in the eye . . . or just begging for God to look away.

The person who has lost all need for pretense is my best shot at an honest answer about life and about God and about me.

God, sometimes my whole life seems like nothing more than a psychological game. It's suddenly very embarrassing that none of it does anything to mask your perception of me. And somehow you love me. I don't know how to feel about that.

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