I just finished reading Jane Eyre for the second time. It has been many years since the last time and it was all fresh to me again. It is coined on the back cover as being "one of the finest novels in English Literature" and I give a hearty AMEN to that. :-) It takes you on a roller-coaster of emotion through the darkness and despair of abuse, to the hope and joy found in the sweetness of genuine friendship.
I was carried effortlessly from cover to cover, feeling an intimate acquaintance with Jane, who narrates the story herself. Though the second half of the novel is definitely a romance, the book is so much more and makes great statements about intellect, equality and relationship.
Relationships is what is on my mind tonight, and what this novel has caused me to deeply ponder. As I read Jane Eyre, it was apparent that such a thing was of great worth. Indeed, in that timeframe they had not television, radio nor other diversions to occupy their time. They had only each other. The picture framed of the evening time is arresting in a day and age of technology, business and endless activity. Sitting by the fire, knitting, reading and truly enjoying the company of another....these things are a treasure! Surely society today, with all of her handmaidens of ease, should be able to relax in the evenings; to joy in the company of others and release the burden of intended accomplishments for things more eternal.
The relationship between Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester was extraordinary in that what they loved about each other was of the mind and character. Indeed they each fell far short of physical beauty. Yet they retained an extended delight in one anothers company, and truly loved each other.
As Christians, we should delight ourselves in the Lord, knowing that true joy and sweetness lie within that intimacy.
I am struck tonight with the thought that delighting in the Lord is more than just a closed door time in which a heart is laid bare before Him. It is more than reading the Word daily and praying for others. It is more than performing acts of loving service for others, though such things are certainly noble and right endeavors.
Delighting in the Lord is seeking to really know the heart of another; smiling at them with all of the joy within; and letting the grace of God pour out of that delight.
Delighting in the Lord is learning to love what others love and deciding to let go of whatever great urge of accomplishment takes you over; simply to enjoy another's presence.
Tonight I sat on the veranda, enjoying the children as they rode their tricycles up and down and around me. I delighted in their smiles and gave horsey rides on my knee with zeal and abandon. I did not watch the clock, nor speak of what needed to be done. But Lord knows there need to be more times like this!
O, Lord, I need You! Take away my resounding gongs and clanging cymbols! Let me be still and know Your charity. Let me suffer long with others...