Some volunteer opportunities are the perfect fit for your introverted personality.

As an Introverted Volunteer, You May Be the Perfect Garden Bloom

You and your introverted temperament are likely an ideal fit for some of the volunteer opportunities that exist in life.

The ad’s headline grabbed me immediately:

Introverts and Quiet Types Needed

“Hmm. That’s different,” I thought.

Needed for what, exactly?

Needed for their—our—unique qualities and strengths, it turns out, in service of one of the noblest purposes I’ve ever encountered …

Keeping people company, silently but surely, during the last hours of their lives.

The Blessing of Hospice Care

The ad was posted by Endless Journey, an Omaha, Nebraska-based hospice care provider.

I know hospice care.

They were there for me and my family 12 years ago when we lost my first wife, Lois, to cancer.

To say that the hospice nurses who helped us were godsends is a ridiculous understatement.

But it’s the only word I have for them.

Annette showed up first, weekly in the beginning and more frequently as time went on, to give Lois a sponge bath.

Annette always spent an inordinate amount of time on Lois’s feet. It took me a while to figure out why …

She was only briefly washing Lois’s feet.

She spent the rest of the time rubbing Lois’s feet, without a word.

A little later in our journey, Willie came into our lives.

Part nurse, part coach, part counselor, and part older sister figure, Willie oozed wisdom.

And calm. Much-needed calm in a truly nightmarish storm.

A Place for Introverted Gifts

It never occurred to me at the time, but Annette and Willie were 
almost certainly introverts.

Both of them spoke quietly, carried themselves quietly, went about their work quietly, and left our home quietly after giving every one of us quiet hugs of compassion and support.

We leaned on Annette and Willie, often literally.

And they were always there.

Now, do you have to be an introvert to work in hospice care?

Of course not.

But is it a field that happens to line up quite nicely with what the typical introvert has to offer?

For sure.

It’s no wonder, then, that Endless Journey was seeking “introverts and quiet types” by name:

Do you love people but don’t like to make small talk? Introverts and quiet types are the perfect volunteers for our Sit Beside Me program as well as our patients who are lonely but just want people who are willing to sit and people watch with them.

Being comfortable with silence is a key gift in a hospice volunteer! … We utilize volunteers to sit quietly beside a patient who may be in their last hours to days—checking for signs of discomfort, reading scripture, making sure there is music or other soothing elements in the room. …

Nonjudgmental, calm, and supportive companions are lifesavers!

Your Introverted Soil Is Fertile

A few years back, when my wife Adrianne and her teaching colleagues were about to begin another school year, Adrianne came home with an inspiring T-shirt, designed by her school’s media specialist.

Emblazoned on the shirt was one of the school’s key themes for the year:

Bloom where you are planted.

Take this advice to heart as you think about the ways you can volunteer in this world—your own way, using your own gifts as the introvert you are.

Yes, you can sit with someone who is dying.

But you can also pet kittens at the animal shelter.

Or read to the children at your kid’s school.

You can even volunteer from home.

Bloom where you are planted.

And always remember …

Your introverted soil is fertile, your seeds one of a kind.