On the long plane rides to and from Sri Lanka I had the joy of reading both Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility on my Kindle. (Entire Jane Austen collection downloaded for $1.) Here is one quotation I marked from S&S:
“The calm and polite unconcern of Lady Middleton on the occasion [of her sister’s breakdown] was a happy relief to Elinor’s spirits, oppressed as they often were by the clamorous kindness of others. It was a great comfort to her to be sure of exciting no interest in one person at least among their circle of friends: a great comfort to know that there was one who would meet her without feeling any curiosity after particulars, or any anxiety for her sister’s health.”
Allowing for Austen’s dry wit, she speaks a truth for people in sorrow. A friend of mine experienced something like it when her mother was dying. She sat at her mother’s side and greeted many visitors. It was very moving to see how much her mother meant to them. Some people, however—and some of the finest Christians were among them—were oppressively concerned. They showed their love through praying too exquisitely and staying too long. Exhausted by their well-meaning efforts, my friend found herself sometimes dreading their visits. She told me that the experience underlined the advice we often hear for hospital visits: keep it short.