Service is a hard thing to get right. I know I want to help people, but I feel like I never know what to do. I spend so much time trying to figure out the most incredible, loving, helpful, life-altering thing I could possibly think of.
I have ideas like Maybe I could clean their entire house and cook them dinner for a week and buy them a new puppy and all new furniture? But when I can’t find time to do that (how weird and selfish of me, right?) time passes, and ultimately I do nothing. Zip. Zero. Zilch.
Meanwhile, someone else has decided, “I will just send my friends a heartfelt card to let them know I’m thinking about them” and actually sent it.
I bet my friends end up saying, “Wow, Sarah’s ideas were way bigger and more generous than this dope’s who sent this lame card. She is such an amazing friend”.
OR MAYBE THEY’RE THINKING
“This card was so thoughtful. I am so touched that my friend took the time to send me this note, letting me know that they care about me and they were thinking of me”.
Let’s turn to the incomparable beacon of wisdom that is Shia Labeouf to sum up my #1 service tip.
Whatever you thought of, or whatever you can handle at the time, just do that! Your friend will appreciate it. I promise they will likely forget what you did, but they will always cherish that you did something.
But what if this isn’t what they need?
What if they think the fact that I came by unannounced is obnoxious and intrusive?
Whatever you do, it is enough! It will reinforce that they have not been forgotten. It will remind them that you care.
I have seen so many women post on Facebook things like,
“My friend had a miscarriage and I was thinking of bringing her a card with some candy but what if she doesn’t like the candy I choose?”
(See any of the three gifs above.) Let’s run through that scenario. This is entirely possible. She might actually throw it in the garbage. But guess what? That doesn’t matter. She will still be glad you came. She will still be so grateful you care.
Here’s another thing people worry about,
“I wanted to come by but I don’t want to interrupt”
(Again. Look to Shia for the answer.) If you come by without warning there is a pretty good chance that it will be a bad time. Who cares? Just respond to social cues, and if need be, say “I was just thinking about you, but I will come back another time”. You might feel embarrassed, but service isn’t about you anyway- it’s about the people you serve.
People called me the day Alice died. I didn’t answer a lot of them, but I am grateful that they tried. Friends from church brought me meals that I did not eat, but I loved that they brought them. My state representative stopped by, just to check in. A girl who I didn’t know very well brought me a loaf of bread that I lost (how?), but I have a feeling we will get to be great friends. A girl from high school gave me a container of lemon hand soap that I am obsessed with. I got a card from a girl from summer camp that brought tears to my eyes. Another friend brought me slippers. Someone I barely knew brought me a painting of the Savior’s hands. These things seem small, but they have carried me through this hard time.
Service can be scary and awkward, but be brave! If you think of something, just do it! You cannot love someone wrong. No matter what you do, the message of your love and kindness will shine through and will help mend a wounded heart. And, if you are ever in doubt, Mr. Labeouf will always be there to remind you, "Just do it!!"