Thursday, September 23, 2021

Jane Eyre & Family time

I am reading Jane Eyre with my 10th graders. (I teach Gabe, Katy, and Maryah a British Literature/Christian History & Bible class.)

I am not sure if I have ever read Jane Eyre. I want to say I did, but I feel now that had I read it previously, it would be etched more firmly in my memory. 

It is brilliant! I am 7 chapters in so we will see if my opinion changes, but I am thoroughly enjoying it. One quote today really spoke to me in the situation John and I find ourselves in with this Pandemic that is ravaging our lives:

"‘Yet it would be your duty to bear it, if you could not avoid it: it is weak and silly to say you cannot bear what it is your fate to be required to bear.’"
- Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

The calling upon John and I truly does feel too great to bear. And I find myself often saying to my husband and others: "I don't know if we can bear it." 

In truth, I think the reality is, we don't want to bear it. And especially, we feel very frustrated that it is taking John away from his family without his permission.

This past week, after working 9 days in a row, we got a call that John's fellow co-director was sick and couldn't work the next day. All week John had been telling the kids, "Sunday. Sunday. We will have time together on Sunday."

And now it was Saturday evening, and he was going to have to be gone in the morning before they woke up. We both started crying. It was too much to ask. To truly be forced  to work? Isn't that what this was? John looked at me and said: "If this was anything but life and death, I would simply quit. I would say no."

The weariness is truly overwhelming. To feel like you cannot quit a job is simply unexplainable. They discussed calling in the National Guard. Unfortunately, that had been tried at a neighboring hospital a few weeks ago and it was a complete disaster. Not enough people with real medical experience meant nearly more work for the doctors as they tried to hand off responsibilities.

So then what? We tell the community: we are in danger of not being able to take care of you? But in truth, what does that look like? What it looks like, I have realized, isn't the doors to the Emergency Department being locked. Instead, it is weary and overworked doctors and nurses attempting to give it their all when their all has been washed away week and months ago.

Not being able to take care of you means that they are sacrificing their loved ones to help people that they feel could have been helped more by being vaccinated ahead of time. This is hard. We do not want mandates as we have said repeatedly. But he is only taking care of the unvaccinated. And that truth is staring him in the face.

It is someone’s right to choose what they have done to them? But what do you do when that choice is teaming havoc on your home. 

So Saturday evening we find out he must go back in. His vaccinated partner had COVID. He is only mildly ill but has to stay home for ten days. There is no one else to go in. They are down to 2 of 5 doctors. We are crying. The kids are asleep. We are helplessly searching for something to make Sunday feel better. At one point I said to John: "You are getting paid hourly. They've given you a raise. Let me take that money and take the kids shopping and buy them something."

Shallow. It was shallow. It wouldn't make it better. 

John's boss stepped in and took a few hours for him on Sunday morning. It felt amazing! It was a gift from above. (Truly!) It made us feel like we can carry on again. 

And then, two doctors who do not normally work in the ER, stepped in and took John's "extra" shifts on Tuesday and Wednesday. We had two whole days as a family! It was remarkable.

I'll share pictures of that tomorrow.

But for now, we take one day at a time. 

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