I believe she deserves a shout out from me.
I read her four years ago and fell in love with her. But here’s the thing: I have a really bad memory. So I knew that I loved her so deeply, but I couldn’t remember every reason why. I just remembered how she made me feel all those years back and I held onto that.
So I watched the new movie last week and fell in love with Jane again. Like so much I cried—and not because the movie was beautiful, even though it was, but because I love Jane Eyre, who blooms into courage and compassion out of obscurity and negligence and unkindness, who blushes and flushes and loves and cries and tries so hard to do all things with all of her heart, who holds so tight onto all things that are good (because they are so few for her). I want to love my own children like I love Jane Eyre.
Favorite quote of Jane’s because it is perfect for anyone who may not know how to say it themselves, but who is dying to say, “But I matter, I matter too!”:
“Do you think I can stay to become nothing to you? Do you think I am an automaton?—a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong!—I have as much soul as you, and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal—as we are!”
HOORAY, Jane! HOORAY! You are such a brave and tender soul.
Of course, it was all a misunderstanding. Rochester was not mocking her—he really loved her and wanted her to be his. Because who wouldn’t want this sweet, honest, passionate Jane Eyre?
I love Jane Eyre.
Because sometimes I feel like I feel way too much. Like Jane Eyre. I know that to some people I do. Sometimes I get embarrassed about how much I care so much about the littlest things, like I feel like my whole body will burst for real. Like when I hear the sound of rain at night–the loveliest sound in all the world–and Ryan, Ryan, Do you hear how pretty the rain is? Or like how I watched this play about a real woman who got famous for singing badly even though she didn’t know it, and when it finally hit her that everyone was laughing at her, I CRIED because I thought of how God must have seen her in comparison and how different that was and HOW COME PEOPLE GOTTA TRY SO HARD TO CRUSH US? Or how our friend David Harrison Smith stayed late at our house last week, telling us how we’ve interpreted Freud all wrong. That psyche means soul, not mind, it means soul and all I could think about was how majestic the word soul was and how the whole earth was a soul that I was a part of. I went to bed that night with my soul in wonder.
So, yes, when I read Jane Eyre, I see how beautiful she is in all her real depth and I think, No, no no, It is good to be in any way like her.
Thank you, Jane Eyre, for showing me that it is good to feel everything so alive.