A few years ago, I took my wife to see a ballet. If you know me, that’s something that may well surprise you but it is true. She had always wondered what the experience would be like and had said she would like to try it at least once. So one Christmas when the pressure of choosing a present for someone who loves buying thoughtful gifts for others became too much, I finally surrendered and bought two tickets.
When the day came, we made it to the venue in plenty of time and settled in to enjoy the production. It didn’t take long for me to realise that ballet was definitely not for me. About five seconds. I’m sure there was enormous skill involved and clearly, there were plenty there who absolutely loved the performance, I know because they kept clapping and shouting bravo! in any pause. But it was sadly completely wasted on me.
From memory, it was a production of Sleeping Beauty and to be fair, the story rattled on at quite a pace. I was beginning to look on the bright side, at least it would be over fairly quickly but I was wrong. When the story had been told (through the medium of dance obviously), the ten couples formed a large semicircle. There was some applause and I thought that’s it but then the woman from the couple on the extreme left began to dance on her own, she floated around in the semi circle, showed off her skill with a few moves and then stopped while everyone clapped. She resumed her position but then her partner had a little dance for a minute or two before finishing with a flourish to more applause. Then his partner, who had just had a dance, joined him and they had another dance together. I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, but I hoped that perhaps it was just this couple that would be allowed to have their moment in the spotlight, surely they wouldn’t all get to dance? They did, I was calculating, three dances at say one minute each, roughly one to two minutes of total clapping and bravos, equals about five minutes per couple. Multiply by nine and that’s forty-five minutes. I wasn’t even halfway through my ballet experience.
You are probably wondering, what on earth this has to do with Job? Well, there is a sequence. Job speaks, then Eliphaz, then Job, then Bildad, then Job, then Zophar and then Job. They do this three times, although Zophar gives it a miss in the final round. I’m not promising answers but in the end it does make sense and it’s a lot better than watching a ballet in my humble opinion.