As an avid fan of Jane Austen’s works, I’ve been challenged to do a devotional based on her beloved work Sense and Sensibility. This particular novel touches me on a vastly different emotional level because it speaks of the differences between two sisters. Having lost my own younger sister to ovarian cancer, I’m particularly tuned in to the near loss of the younger character, Marianne, to a severe illness. Please enjoy my insights and appreciate my journey as I wrote this.
Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret Dashwood, three sisters. Their mother, Mrs. Dashwood. Mr. Henry Dashwood, her recently deceased husband. Mr. John Dashwood, his son from his first marriage and step-brother to the three sisters.
Elinor, this eldest daughter (nineteen) whose advice was so effectual possessed a strength of understanding and coolness of judgment, which qualified her to be the counsellor of her mother, who had an excellent heart and affectionate. Her feelings were strong. Elinor knew how to govern her feelings, which the mother had yet to learn. Marianne (seventeen) was sensible and clever; but eager in everything; her sorrows, her joys, could have no moderation. She was generous, amiable, interesting: she was everything but prudent. The mother and Marianne encouraged each other now in the violence of their affliction (over the loss of their loved one). They gave themselves up wholly to their sorrow. Margaret (thirteen) was good-humored and well disposed; but she had already imbibed a good deal of Marianne’s romance, without much of her sense.
Sense means a sane and realistic attitude towards situations and problems. Sensibility (sensitivity) means the ability to appreciate and respond to complex emotional or aesthetic influences.
Emotion: Mananging sorrow.
Insight: Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flows the springs of life.”
This verse encourages us to see the value of our own hearts. Guarding the heart came naturally to Elinor but was more difficult for Marianne and Mrs. Dashwood. From this family, we can learn the beauty of guarding our precious thoughts, sharing them only with those who appreciate their meaning and motives.