The Greatest Romance Ever.

26 Mar

Last night, I went to see the new Jane Eyre movie with my friend Jess. It was SO good. I first read the book in 9th grade, then re-read it last November, so when I heard that they were coming out with a new movie, I just had to see it. Travis and I even made a deal that if I went and saw True Grit with him, he would go see Jane Eyre with me. Well, he didn’t go last night, but the movie was so good, I might still make him go with me so I can see it again.

The movie stayed almost completely true to the book, which I was delighted to see. But it also, inevitably, left out so many good parts that I still hold to my belief that the book is always better than the movie. The slow development of the romance between Jane and Mr. Rochester is so much more anticipatory and well-founded in the book; in the movie, it just feels like their relationship moves so fast.

Nonetheless, the movie did get the scene where Mr. Rochester asks Jane to marry him completely right. I started crying, it was so beautiful. Even today, I am still thinking about that love story. There is something about that kind of deep, emotional love story (not the kind we have today where it’s about looks, success, and circumstances) that stirs longings in your heart.

I think a lot of women use romance novels to escape their real lives. I mean, let’s be honest. Marriage isn’t glamorous. As wonderful and amazing as having a life partner and best friend is, and as life-changing as it was to fall in love and get married, soon real life sets in and those butterflies in the stomach and telling gazes fade away (for most couples, though some are very lucky to retain those). Women turn to these tales of romance in order to live vicariously through someone else’s love story.

But the amazing truth is, we are all called into The Greatest Romance Ever with God Himself. Jane Eyre was simple, plain, and small. All her life, she had been treated despicably by others, like she was less than the dirt they walked on. She viewed herself very lowly. She did not expect anyone to take notice of her, and yet in her heart, she yearned for someone to do just that. We are like that – dying for Someone to take notice of us, to see in us a value that no one else sees, to validate us, love us, and esteem us.

Enter Mr. Rochester. He sees something in Jane no one else has ever taken the time to notice. He defies social convention and perhaps his own common sense to unite himself to her in marriage. He chooses to fore-go a “sensible” marriage, one with Miss Ingram who is a sophisticated, elegant lady to marry his true love, Jane Eyre.

When Jane is told by the housekeeper that Mr. Rochester is making wedding preparation, her heart is broken. She assumes her true love is going to marry someone else. And certainly that makes sense. How could Jane, so lowly and plain, merely a paid subordinate, expect Mr. Rochester to marry her?

But that was not Mr. Rochester’s plan all along. He loved Jane. And as they are standing in the middle of the garden, after many abstracts and misunderstandings, Mr. Rochester asks Jane to go through life at his side, as his wife. Jane can hardly believe her ears. “You love me?” she asks, incredulous.

Here, we “catch sight of…the power of the Higher, just in so far as it is truly Higher, to come down, the power of the greater to include the less,” as C. S. Lewis writes in Miracles (though not about Jane Eyre specifically). We see the rich, sophisticated Mr. Rochester condescending to love Jane Eyre, the governess in his household – an allegory of the Greatest Romance where God Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, condescended to love lowly sinners, completely undeserving in every way, by making the Greatest Sacrifice Ever.

Mr. Rochester is described in the book as having harsh features, made even harsher by his frequently being in an ill humor. Jane was not pretty either; she was very plain, simple, and small. Yet, Mr. Rochester’s spirit united with Jane’s spirit in the deepest form of love.

Likewise, Christ “he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2). We are like orphans covered in blood, abandoned, despised (Ezekiel 16:5-6). But Christ’s spirit unites us with His through His sacrifice and we find in Him everything we’ve been longing for our entire lives.

All of the great romances and stories that stir longings in our hearts are really versions of the gospel. I am so thankful that I can watch a movie like Jane Eyre, which awakens my own heart-desire for a Great Romance, and find that exact thing in the Love of my life: Jesus Christ.

“Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

2 Responses to “The Greatest Romance Ever.”

  1. leeleegirl4 March 26, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

    Isn’t it amazing how varied and surprising things always point us back to Jesus? His love for us really is the greatest love of all.

  2. B. in the Know March 26, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

    Oh I am so happy to hear it is good – I want to see this so bad!!
    Much love,
    B

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