One cannot, of course, improve upon the Book of Job; how Job’s wealth was vast and plentiful; where he was surrounded by his wife, seven sons and three daughters; the company of his friends, a reputation as a man who was blameless and upright; and in an instant, everything was lost. Yet, when his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!”
But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. Job 2:9-10.
It was Job who had great wealth, vast possessions; but upon losing his material wealth, he remained steadfast in his faith and joy. For Job owned, but was not owned. We mistake sometimes, and think that by not owning, we show virtue; but virtue is the ability to remain faithful upon a test; if the test is forever avoided, one may never know whether your virtue was real, or merely the butterfly’s dream.
Lessons from these four parables:
We must always be able to discern between the real and the absurd; to see beyond words; for words must match deeds; words must not merely be a playground of conceptual potentialities, though such conceptual frameworks sometimes have their value and place in the world of humanity. Yes, a mud puddle could potentially drown a child, but the reality of such an event is remote, and must be viewed as such. The test of a man may one day come; one must always be prepared for such a test. And so the sword of a samurai must be ready to be unsheathed; but ever remaining in its sheath, if never used; yet, ready to be used, when called upon. And virtue cannot be true where no test is ever encountered; un-ness is not a virtue when it is embraced; the virtue of un-ness is in the having, not in the vanity of viewing the Koishu Gardens, and thinking that by not owning, you have grasped the serenity of life.