“You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be all the world to one person.”
How true this is – and how wonderful it is to be “all the world” to someone who’s otherwise all alone!
The easiest way to achieve this enviable position is (surprise, surprise) to volunteer some of your free time at the nearest nursing home – especially by visiting with a resident one-on-one, as regularly as possible so she can look forward to your next visit.
(I say “she” because something like 90% of nursing-home residents are women. But there’s no reason to ignore the men, and in fact it would be great if more men would volunteer their time to visit these often equally lonely residents.)
While you’re there, you can perhaps take care of little tasks that she can no longer handle, like watering a favorite plant or hanging up a sweater or blouse that was somehow forgotten in last night’s bedtime scramble or writing letters that her arthritic hands can’t manage.
But even more important, invite her to tell you all about herself – her history, her family, her likes and dislikes, her past and present challenges and victories. Pretend you're a reporter and ask polite follow-up questions. Act like you're her best friend and you soon will be, and in most cases you’ll find yourself feeling like she’s one of your best friends, too.
In the course of these visits, you can of course tell her about yourself, too – especially when you’re having a conversation about this or that, so that you can bond through shared experiences and viewpoints. But be wary of dominating the conversation; a little “I” goes a long way.
Most important, if you’re a Christian, be open to talking about your faith, and inviting her to talk about hers. Most women of nursing-home age were raised in a church, and many have rock-solid faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But there are exceptions, and sooner or later you’ll want to present the gospel – and invite your new friend to receive the free gift of eternal life through repentance and trust in Christ Jesus.
What do you think? Would you like to be all the world to someone in desperate need of someone who cares? If so, call the Activities Director at your neighborhood nursing home today, and find out how to get started!