The book that sparked the new way of thinking about love was, The 5 Love Languages® by Dr. Gary Chapman. It was written in 1995 and has become more popular recently. What exactly are the 5 Love Languages?
According to Dr. Chapman, they are: Words of Affirmation, Acts of
Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.
When it comes to Acts of Service, Nancy must have been the President of this language of Love. She was always willing to help when help was needed or be the person behind the scene, ensuring every Church service, dinner, and or event ran smoothly.
For over 60 years, Nancy lived in our community and called Rocklyn home. This is where Nancy and Mac Breadner raised their three children. She wasn’t only a wife and mother, she was a talented hair dresser, baker, gardener and our Church’s Chair.
Nancy was a neighbour, a friend, a mentor and a volunteer, involved in many organizations including the Women’s Institute, Temple Hill United Church, the Friends of the Rocklyn Arena, and the Markdale Horticultural society. Nancy’s pies were known for miles around – quoted from your notice. Her specialty was catering to support fund raising. When people had a wedding or an event that needed catering, they called Nancy. She would work out a menu and get organized with other Church folk to cater that event. They all did it because it was the way of life for them. They all participated in the shopping, cooking, and serving. They enjoyed the guests. They enjoyed being together. They did it because of their love for God and because they needed to support the Church. It is not an exaggeration to say that, this Church stands before you today because of decades of these catering efforts.
As a little girl, I can say I remember Mac always sitting in the 10th row back from the front (sorry, but sometimes the sermons were so long so I mapped out what pews everyone sat in, remember I did say I was young). As I was saying I remember Mac, but to be honest I don’t remember Nancy. I start remembering Nancy when our Minister, Mr. McPhee started our coffee time after the service. There was a sign up list for people to be in charge of making sure coffee and snacks were provided but what I remember is Nancy always having the coffee pot ready and brewing before the service would even start.
As I got older and started paying more attention, I realized that Nancy was our ring leader, our head chef and leader. When it came to our current lunches at Church, she never let us down serving the best pinwheels, sandwiches and snacks. For Vacation Bible School, she would show up at lunch time, with her home-made pink juice all the children loved, properly chilled and refreshing, and other goodies. Our head chef, bossing everyone around the kitchen – sorry I mean organizing us so that our dinners and luncheons went off without a hitch. The best kitchen moment I had with Nancy, may seem silly to most, but it was an honour for me…..A few years back, she finally let me make up the tartar sauce at the Fish Fry, I remember thinking: ‘wow she accepted my help’.
Every August, in the tradition of English garden parties, which flourished in Grey and Bruce counties from 1880s to the Second World War, our Church still continued to have a garden service. This service was always at Nancy’s garden. Located right next to the Rocklyn Inn, Nancy’s house backs onto Nancy’s wonderful garden. Lilies, ferns, sumac, a small pond with a fountain, trellises, topiaries, infinite number of perennials … It even contains partial walls from the Breadner ancestral home. Nancy spent so much time working here, but it was her love.
There was another thing I noticed, over the years…she moved to a new pew on the other side of the Church. She moved over to be closer to her friend John McCann. This made me smile. I thought, how nice it was for both of them, having lost their spouses, to have found a companion with each other. It was nice to see them enjoy each other’s company and work on projects together (I understand that they maybe didn’t always agree, so they would do it Nancy’s way and all was good again).
Over the last year, I realized even more how much work she did behind the scenes to keep our little Church thriving!! This is when I realized just how much she loved our Church and her Church family.
Her Love for her family was also expressed with service. This didn’t stand out to me more than the one day after Church, she said that she had to go help paint the parlor at Hillary’s before an inspection. At the time I thought to myself…why is she doing that….now I realize it was her Love language. She would do anything to help her children and her grandchildren.
Her service work made me feel tired, so I have no idea how she was able to do all she did for her 80 years.
When I heard Nancy wasn’t feeling well again, I reached out to her. She wrote that her dreaded enemy C-word had returned. She had fought Cancer before and beat it without batting an eye. This time I choose to believe that Jesus had caught too many fish and they needed Nancy’s services to get it prepared for everyone.
The Acts of Service of the Love languages, expresses itself by doing things that you know your recipient would like. Cooking a meal, preparing coffee and tea, sitting and visiting after church are all acts of service. They require some thought, time, and effort. All of these services, Nancy did without one ounce of complaining or someone asking her to do it. She did this out of Love for her God, her Church and her Church family.
We will miss her, but stand comforted that she is now continuing to perform her acts of love in Jesus’ company.