The phone was ringing. A woman answered, “Hello?”
“Hi this is Kara Maurer from Newberg Friends; I
came to visit you with Elizabeth Sherwood?”
“Oh, yes, how are you doing?”
“I’m doing pretty well. I was wondering if you would
be up for me coming by for another visit.”
“They’re making you do it all by yourself now, are
they? That’s awfully brave of you. Sure, that would be
So began my experience as a Friendly Visitor. When I first started interning at Newberg Friends in September and was told I would be visiting people at Friendsview Retirement Community and in the community at large, I was so nervous. Aside from my grandparents, I hadn’t had much experience interacting with people over the age of sixty, and I didn’t know what on earth we would talk about. Not to mention the fact that I am an introvert; the idea of meeting someone for the first time stresses me out. Either Elizabeth Sherwood or Cindy Johnson went with me for the first few visits, and I was able to just sit there and smile while they talked to the people we visited. It was safe, and I enjoyed listening to their conversations. After that, though, I was on my own. The idea of going to visit people at all, let alone regularly, freaked me out. It was so difficult to jump in solo!
Now that the school year has ended, I am so glad this was my first assignment as an intern. It turns out I love talking with people—both at Friendsview and in independent homes. I connected with some of the people more than others, but each interaction I had I now treasure. Every visit ended with me walking out the door with a smile on my face and joy in my heart. I always feel so full after a visit, and I know that the people I visit enjoy it as much as I do.
Being a Friendly Visitor simply means connecting with one older adult on a regular basis. Maybe that means once a week, or maybe it means once a month. This is such a life-giving time because the sole purpose is to form a friendship. It may start out with small talk about the pets that we’ve had throughout our lives or learning about how they came to live in this area. After more time together, however, it becomes something much deeper. I find myself looking forward to the next visit, excited to spend more time with the person and to share a piece of our lives together. It is fun to travel through life with someone, whether it’s getting excited about the upcoming publication of a book or making paper snowflakes to celebrate the Christmas season. The nervousness I faced in the beginning was well worth all that I have gotten out of this experience. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone.
Kara is a recent George Fox graduate who hopes to make a career in social work. She is the daughter of Dave Maurer and Sandy Gidding, the sister of Zach Maurer, and the roommate of Anna Thomas and Ruth Headley, all of whom she loves very much. Kara looks forward to finding out what God has in store for her in this next chapter of her life.
Read the rest of this article in the May 24th issue of YourNFC.