MARCH / APRIL 2013: BY SHANNON H.
Edward Rochester laid in bed face up with his only hand on his chest, feeling the pulsating beats of his heart. This night was his last as a bachelor, for he was to be married the next day to Miss Jane Eyre. He fixed his blurry gaze at the ceiling. He could not sleep. An overwhelming sensation of excitement and fear gripped him; he was looking forward to finally being happily married, but he was still afraid. Would Jane reject him again? Of course not! He shook the thought from his mind. She loved him too much to reject him this time.
It seemed as if it were only yesterday that a plain governess came to reside at his home for the purpose of educating his ward, Adele. He remembered accusing her of bewitching his horse. The mere thought made him chuckle a bit.
His thoughts turned tragic as he remembered Jane leaving upon finding out about his wife, a demented soul hidden in the attic. The moment she left, he had entered the room where she stayed, sat down on the bed, and wept for what seemed like hours. Days and weeks had come and gone. He had spent time outside the great house that until Jane came into it had felt like a prison, waiting for his beloved to return. He’d occasionally take to drunkenness despite his hatred for such a state. He had prayed tearfully and feverishly every night for God to return Jane to him, but nothing happened.
Then had come his dream: that he saw Miss Eyre and ran towards her but she was swallowed by smoke and flames, which roused him from his sleep. He awoke to the smell of fire in the house and traced it to the attic where Bertha had broken a window and climbed onto the roof. Nearly blinded by the flames, he tried to coax her inside but instead, his wife fell to her death. Thornfield was nearly in ashes and he had lost his left hand and his sight, but not his love for Jane.
Every night after the fire, he’d prayed to God that Jane would return to him. Humbled by his condition, he’d also begged for salvation, for mercy, and forgiveness. Then, one day in his study at Ferndean, he had heard a familiar voice, “It is Jane Eyre.” Hearing it, he first found himself delusional but when she embraced and kissed him, he felt tears of joy fall from his blind eyes. God had heard his prayers and granted him mercy, he thought. The past no longer mattered and aside from Jane teasing him a bit, he had finally gruffly asked the plain governess (now a wealthy woman thanks to an inheritance) to be the wife he’d wanted for so long.
Edward shook himself out of his reverie but his thoughts turned to the future. Tomorrow, he would become, for the first time in his life, a happily married man. He imagined the honeymoon in Paris and Rome. He envisioned his wife cradling a little bundle of joy in her arms and rocking it to sleep. She would make an excellent mother someday, he knew. But dreams mattered less than what God had given him for the moment. Jane Eyre was a strong woman, strong enough to respect her faith and reputation and leave him when she had discovered his lies, even when she loved him to say no to his advances however much she may have wanted them. Now, God rewarded them for her faithfulness. He had given them a second chance at happiness. Not happiness stolen, but in a union He could bless and that the church would honor.
The knowledge humbled him. Jane was still in her beliefs, strong enough to stand at his side as his wife, no matter what happened in their lives. At that moment, Edward said a prayer of thanks to God for his future bride. And still in thought, he drifted off to sleep.
The next morning, he appeared at the church with his soon-to-be bride, Jane Eyre.
After vows were exchanged, the two were declared husband and wife. Mr. and Mrs. Rochester sat next to each other in the carriage ride home. His only hand held his wife’s as she put her head on his shoulder. And for the first time in his life, Edward felt truly happy and blessed. ♥