Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Service. A love language

A long time ago, I read a book called The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell.

The book came to mind this year as I was cutting grass and doing yard work: both excellent activities for thinking. I thought about the book. I thought about my kids. I also thought about other people.

Like a friend who delivered treats to my house.

The friend who joined me for coffee and play dates.

The friend who always had an encouraging word.

The guy at church who hugged everyone in reach. Including Shane!

Even my dad, errand runner. Caregiver.

We were all speaking our language:

quality time
physical touch
acts of service

I never really thought about it in those terms--love language. And yet, for the friend who'd drop off a treat and go, I remember thinking, "That was nice. But I really just wanted to hang out with her." At the time, I didn't realize how I connected satisfaction to this language. This understanding would occur years later, while cutting grass.

Another example. Just out of college, money was super tight. And I'm a terrible gift giver. Christmas felt stressful, until that year when we all decided not to exchange gifts, and just have dinner together. Time spent together--it's my language. And that year was one of the most meaningful Christmases I had (before kids).

At Thanksgiving this year, for a dad who needs to be doing, sitting around after dinner and drinking coffee was not on his list of to-do's. And that's when it hit me. As I was starting to feel hurt he was hurried to go, I realized we never spoke the same language. He wanted to be doing things. I just wanted to spend time with him.

My dad is pushing 80. I can tell him I love him, but he doesn't say it back. I can offer a hug or a seat at the table. But ...

I don't know if there's really much I can do to draw us closer at this point. But ... I feel encouraged to speak a new language. For my gift-giving friends, I want to be a better gift giver so that they hear my love. For my quality time friends, there is always room at my table and a cup of coffee with their name on it. For my wordy friends, I want to speak encouragement into their lives. And for someone like my dad, I want to serve, that tells and yells I LOVE YOU straight to a heart, when ears can't hear. 

Service was the word that chose me, really. I remember sitting at church one night before service began, thinking, "I wonder what my 2013 word will be?" Service popped in my mind, and I thought, "Hmm. Well. What else could it be instead of service?"

I looked up at the big screen, and in big letters across it read, "SERVICE starts in 4:59 minutes." The countdown was on. And the word was right there in my face. I just laughed.

Happy 2013.

Thanks to Melanie over at for the freebie button. I love it.

1 comment:

Piper said...

Thanks for stopping by Mercy Saved Me! I love your post about your word! Years ago a couples Sunday school class did the Love Language study. It was an eye opener for sure. I learned a lot about my husband, and it gave me a better insight into how to love him and my children. One statement that stuck with me was... how your children show you love is their love language. How true is that? Not just your children, but knowing what your friends and families love languages are just by seeing how they show love. At first I thought mine was quality time but soon after I realized acts of service ran a close second! Thanks for reminding me the importance of love language. A great way for me to share JOY!!