Acts Of Service

Acts of service is one of the more difficult Love Languages for me to write about, as it’s the lowest on my list. This is interesting, though, because I speculate that a lot of people who are incredibly close to me have this as one of their top LL’s. Ever since I realized this I’ve tried to be really cognizant about the things other people do for me, as well as amp up my acts of service in their lives, too.

Did you know that sometimes when you speak the wrong love language to someone that they don’t necessarily register it as being something coming from the heart? I learned this when I began to realize that one of my favorite ways to show love — through little gifts and letters — wasn’t necessarily what was making everyone in my life feel loved. After paying closer attention to what others need I have tweaked the way I love, which in turn has changed my heart to receive all 5 love languages a little better. I used to brush off acts of service as things people felt they had to do for me, but now I take note of even the smallest actions people do from their heart.

One act of service Robert thanked me for today was getting up early to take Jax outside and keep him in the living room to let him sleep in. I actually didn’t think Robert would have even really noticed, but it made my heart warm this morning just knowing he would get the rest he’s needed.

Ideas to implement this LL:

  • Run an errand for your loved one.
  • Play chauffeur and drive your loved one somewhere they need to be, but can’t get to on their own. Lots of my friends and family do this for me often, as I can’t drive much longer than 10-15 minutes at a time, so I’m very familiar with this act of service.
  • Do some of the chores your significant other hates so (s)he doesn’t have to. This is difficult because fine motor skills (ie: loading and unloading the dishwasher) can add to the pain in my arms, and so my parents have taken a bigger burden with chores in the house. I’m so thankful and try to help out in other ways, since I’m currently trying to work to get stronger so that I will hopefully be able to serve others with this again one day.
  • Fill up their car with gas. This is such a tiny act of service, but it’s one I’ve grown to really appreciate. I can’t pump gas with my arm pain, but even before I got sick my dad always tried to fill up the girls’ tanks to keep our cars in tip top running shape.
  • Cook them a meal. I know I mentioned cooking in the “gift giving” Love Language, but it can also be categorized as an act of service. This is a great way to show someone you care about them and want to spend time with them. Even sending a packed lunch to work is a really sweet gesture.
  • Don’t complain when someone asks you to do them a favor. I cannot emphasize this enough, as I have had to swallow my pride the past 4 years and learn to ask for help. I already have a really hard time asking for the things I need, but it’s really made it harder when someone tells me how difficult the favor was to do. For the most part everyone has been so incredible about pitching in, though, and I remember so many of the sweet things people have done to help make things a little easier on me. I couldn’t feel more grateful, and I hope to be able to love with some of the acts of service that are hard on me in the future.

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Acts of service can be difficult to spot, and easy to take for granted. People who love this way, though, will show it in everyday life. Whether it’s doing home improvement projects, cooking a meal, or simply doing the laundry, acts of service are often the little pieces of love woven into the little pieces of your day. They are often even combined with other Love Languages, such as physical touch through a massage, or gift giving with a homecooked meal. What kind of acts of service do you notice in your life?

A Letter From A “Slow Walker”

There is often a lot of talk about how annoying “slow walkers” are. I have always fallen into the “annoyed” category since God gave me long legs at birth.

When I was 22 I got sick with a chronic illness — Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. It started off as a debilitating sickness. I could only walk about twelve feet without resting, and could only make the long journey up a flight of stairs to my bed once a day with the help of my parents and taking little breaks between climbing a few steps and sitting down to rest until I reached the top.

When I was finally well enough to go out of the house for a fifteen minute errand to the grocery store it was a big deal. I felt like I had this tiny piece of normalcy in my life, even though I felt constantly dizzy and nauseous.

Wegmans was my number one choice for a field trip, and I wanted to see if I could go find a salty snack and chocolate bar while I was there. One salty snack, one sweet treat. That’s it.

I walked to the dessert aisle first, as it was closer to the entrance, and my eyes grazed over dozens of choices. The room spun as I tried to read new labels, and my body started to gently sway. I knew I wasn’t feeling well enough to stay in this upright position much longer, but I was determined to be normal again — at least for a few minutes. I snagged a bar I thought might be halfway decent and took each step to the popcorn aisle as carefully as I possibly could. I didn’t want to fall, and I absolutely was not about to faint in public for the first time — not today.

As I put one foot in front of the other I vaguely noticed the bustling around me. I felt mildly panicked as I began to realize I shouldn’t be alone anymore and that my heart was racing the way it does when I’m about to pass out. My eyes slowly scanned the aisle, and I couldn’t feel my footing anymore. My feet were still planted firmly on the ground, but my head was spinning in circles.

“What the hell is her problem,” I hear behind me. I turn, dazed, as a woman my mom’s age firmly nudged me into the shelf that held some sort of food I couldn’t quite make out. It wasn’t until I was intentionally lying on the ground* to get the blood to flow back to my brain moments later that it all clicked. I was the one with the “problem.”

Tears welled up behind my foggy eyes. I had never been different before, and I wasn’t used to having a disability. No one could tell by looking at me that I was sick, but my body reminded me every second of every day that I was ill. The room kept spinning, but somehow I kept thinking.

I was a heavy mix of angry, frustrated, and devastated. Why aren’t people more patient? Why can’t we have some sort of label for the chronically ill so that people would know I need extra help? But wait, why can’t people just be kind to others in general and realize that you never know what someone else is going through by of the way they look? 

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These are questions I never really thought about before I got sick. I am guilty of complaining to friends about “slow walkers,” moody waiters, and distracted baristas. Having a chronic illness has taught me the very important lesson that just because someone looks fine doesn’t mean that they are. People can have a hard time for a number of different reasons, and instead of making their life any more difficult by making snarky remarks or getting frustrated, we should all take a minute to practice patience and kindness. After all, even if someone doesn’t need it, there is never any harm in being kind to others and treating them the way you would like to be treated. Sure people can be frustrating sometimes, but is the hustle and bustle and rush of life really worth hurting another human? Is whatever you are rushing to really worth upsetting anyone over? I think the answer for most of us if we sat down and thought about it would be “no.”


*This is a tactic POTSies use to ward off some of our symptoms and feel a little better, hence the “Postural” in “POTS.”