Lynne Gentry has written for numerous publications. Return to Exile is her second book in The Carthage Chronicles series. She is a professional acting coach, theater director, playwright, author of several full-length musicals and a children’s theater curriculum, and an inspirational speaker. Lynne loves spending time with family, working the cancer centers with her medical therapy dog, and connecting with readers.
And now, let's hear from Lynne!
By Lynne Gentry
When Ebola patient Dr. Kent Brantley’s specially-equipped plane left West Africa and touched down on U.S. soil, he brought more than a deadly virus with no known cure to Americans. He brought fear.
I prayed for Dr. Brantley’s recovery while he fought for his life in a special isolation unit. After all, this fine young doctor had been my daughter’s college TA. He was a missionary, who’d forgone financial gain to serve the poor in Africa. But I confess, like most anxious Americans, I wondered about the CDC’s ability to contain the virus? Ebola is a merciless enemy. Only fifty percent of its victims survive. Was America prepared to handle a possible epidemic?
And then the worst happened.
In September 2014, Ebola secretly stowed away in the body of a traveler from Liberia, deplaned in Dallas, and ultimately infected two of the healthcare workers who’d bravely agreed to care for the sick man.
I live in Dallas.
Every week I take my medical therapy dog to work in a large downtown hospital.
My daughter is an anesthesiologist and my husband works in surgical education. How long before we were all exposed?
My pulse began to race and my chest began to ache. I told my daughter I thought I had a fever and that I thought she looked a little pale.
“I’m fine.” She placed her palm on my forehead. “And so are you.”
“Death is stalking us,” I argued. “We need to get out of town. Go to a deserted island until this virus flames out.”
That’s when my daughter informed me that I was suffering from the deadliest virus of all … fear.
The destructive power of fear is not new. In the third century, terror swept through the Roman Empire faster than the horrible plague that killed 5,000 people a day at its peak. Those who could afford to get out of town fled to their country homes. They left their dying relatives behind. Those forced to stay in the cities began to search for someone to blame. They set their eyes on Christians, a strange group of people not given to worshipping the pagan gods. Persecution of these Christ-loving heretics became a national law. Christians were ripped from their homes. Burned on crosses or sentenced to horrible deaths in the arena. Their properties were looted or confiscated.
Fear threatened to topple the Empire. And it would have were it not for the bravery of a scruffy little band of Christians in Carthage. These persecuted believers put aside the human inclination to protect oneself. They joined hands, opened their homes, and offered supportive care to the very citizens demanding their deaths.
What does the foolish course of action taken by some ancient virus fighters have to do with me? Today we have the CDC’s epidemic team of young physicians, nurses, and scientists. They’re trained to deal with outbreaks. They wear special vests, suits, and face shields. All I have to do is stay out of their way, right?
For every other crisis from poverty to aging, we have other governmental programs and non-profit organizations. Pushing the responsibility off on someone else is the perfect arrangement for the fearful. If we assume someone else will do the job, we never have to sacrifice or take selfless risks.
Funny thing, that’s what the Romans told themselves. Their unwillingness to do anything almost destroyed them.
The human heart is where the greatest enemy to a society resides. Fear strips us of empathy and compassion. Fear is the safest way to convince ourselves that it is okay to do nothing.
My daughter’s fearlessness shamed me. So, even though Dallas was on pins and needles during the Ebola crisis, I and several thousand other healthcare workers continued doing what we do best … caring for others. I can’t cure Ebola and I can’t save the world, but I can take my dog to the oncology ward and make someone smile.
I hope RETURN TO EXILE, the second book of my Carthage Chronicles series, will encourage you to cast aside your fears and bravely reach out to someone you know who is suffering.
“Perfect love casts out fear.” I John 4:18 NASB
Loved the article and video, Lynne!
Now, let's read more about RETURN TO EXILE.
RETURN TO EXILE BLURB:
Six years ago, impossible circumstances forced Dr. Lisbeth Hastings to leave behind the love of her life, not just in another country, but in another time. Her work as a top-notch epidemiologist and parenting her little girl helps alleviate the pain, but at night when her exhausted head hits the pillow, images of her beloved Cyprian haunt her sleep.
Cyprian Thascius returns from political exile a broken man. He’s lost his faith, the love of his life, and his purpose. He attempts to move on, to face the danger that is looming over Carthage, but when Cyprian’s true love suddenly reappears, his heart becomes as imperiled as the fledgling church he seeks to save.
Have the years that kept Lisbeth and Cyprian apart created too wide a chasm to bridge? In the midst of a new epidemic and rising oppression, will their love be the most costly fatality? Filled with gripping action and raw emotion, this spell-binding adventure of star-crossed lovers captivates with every turn of the page in this electric continuation of The Carthage Chronicles.
Find out more about Lynne Gentry:
Facebook: Author Lynne Gentry https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Lynne-Gentry/215337565176144
Simon & Schuster: http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Lynne-Gentry/412732530