Lessons From The Invisible String and Love Languages

I love children's literature. Book Week was one of my favorite weeks when I was teaching. Students would dress in costume as their favorite book character or make posters about their favorite book. As a retired teacher, I sometimes read aloud to elementary classes. So I recently reviewed The Invisible String by Patrice Karst and illustrated by Geoff Stevenson.

Reminding us that we are never alone

The Invisible String is a sweet story that reminds children and adults that they are never alone. "People who love each other are always connected by an extraordinary string made of love. Even though you can't see it with your eyes, you feel it deep in your heart and know you are always connected to the ones you love."

How people express love

I also read Gary Chapman's book, Love Languages, and took the online quiz to determine my love language.

What are love languages?

Different people with different personalities give and receive love in different ways.

  • Words of Affirmation Compliments and encouragement such as, "You're doing well! Keep up the excellent work!
  • Quality Time Nothing says "I love you!" like your full, undivided attention.
  • Receiving Gifts For some people, receiving a gift makes them feel loved.
  • Acts of ServiceFor these people, actions speak louder than words
  • Physical Touch To this person, nothing speaks more deeply than desired physical touch.

I took the quiz online at www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes and learned my primary love language is Words of Affirmation. Words of Affirmation  37 percent, Acts of Service 33 percent, Quality Time 20 percent, Receiving Gifts 7 percent, Physical Touch 3 percent.

When I was younger, I loved getting surprise gifts, but as a senior citizen working on downsizing, I do not so much these days. After receiving my blood cancer diagnosis of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) in 2017, I had people I had just met reach out to hug or pat me when they learned I had cancer. I love getting hugs from children any time, but I don't particularly appreciate being patted or hugged by someone I don't even know. If I ran the world, we would do away with handshaking (too many germs). That's just me.

How can you help someone with cancer?

My friend Cindy called to ask how she could help me after my blood cancer diagnosis. Need help with housekeeping? No, it is a small house, so I can still manage. Need help with yard work? Maybe later, but I'd planned to hire someone to mow my yard.

I told her I would be at MD Anderson on my mother's 88th birthday. "My husband and I will take her out to dinner!" my friend said. So that's what they did to help me. My mother needed to dress up and get out of the house, and I felt better knowing she wouldn't be alone on her birthday. That was an act of service, gift, and quality time. It was better than a casserole or scented candle.

Suggestions for friends with cancer

  • Words of Affirmation: Send cards to cheer them up. Who doesn't love getting mail?
  • Quality Time: Does your friend feel well enough for a drive? Maybe they would love to see the flowers in the park.
  • Receiving Gifts: Here's an idea. It is important to hydrate when having frequent blood draws. So they might enjoy some bottles of flavored water.
  • Acts of Service: Ask your friend how you can help them. For example, they might need you to pick up a prescription or some groceries.
  • Physical Touch: Offer your arm for assistance when needed or offer a gentle hug when saying goodbye.

Yes, I believe we have an invisible string that connects us to our loved ones. And I like the idea of identifying our love languages. Thanks, Gary Chapman.

I also think it is good to communicate with those we love by telling them what we need and how they can help. What do you think your primary love language is?

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