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Interview with Arden Wood Residents

Resident Interview with Carolyn Lewis

Carolyn Lewis, Director of Residential Services, sat down with Barbara Frese and Shirley Ayers to ask them about their experience as Arden Wood residents.

Carolyn:  Barbara and Shirley, I am so happy to be here with you two of our wonderful residents talking about something that is dear to our heart, Arden Wood, particularly the Residential department.  I am so convinced that every resident who has ever come here has really been given an invitation by Father, Who has spoken to their heart; and I bet each of you has had that experience.  I am wondering if you would share it with us?

Barbara:  Yes, I do have some very grateful thoughts about Arden Wood. One day God just said: “Barbara, you need to move to Arden Wood.”  It was very clear.  It was just as plain as day that it was from the Father.   It was a beautiful revelation for me that there was a right place for me.  

Carolyn:  Shirley, what was your experience?

Shirley:  It really was a call.  I’d like to share something that Mrs. Eddy said that guided me the whole time I was making this change:  “God is the fountain of light, and He illumines one’s way when one is obedient. The disobedient make their moves before God makes His, or make them too late to follow Him. Be sure that God directs your way; then, hasten to follow under every circumstance” (Miscellaneous Writings, 117: 27). And that is what I tried to do—let God work this out, let God move me, and let God tell me all that I needed to know.  I was so grateful because it certainly worked out in a wonderful way.

Carolyn:  What about Arden Wood spoke to you that you felt it was really the right place to be? 

Barbara:  After living alone, I felt it was more harmonious for me to be in a family with other Christian Scientists.  I love the idea of all of us working together on the same team, glorifying God daily and supporting one another.

Shirley:   It’s a wonderful place to come and grow and develop spiritually.  

Carolyn:  You both have spoken about family and you are now a part of a big family of spiritual healers. Do you find that to be supportive in your forward progress in Christian Science?

Barbara:  That was one of the prime reasons it was so advantageous to come. There is never any doubt that we will always have Christian Science to support us. That was a drawing card.

Carolyn:  I would love to have you tell me a little bit about the opportunities that you’ve had to continue to support church and the Cause of Christian Science while you’ve been here.  Shirley?

Shirley: ….I am active [in church] and I love being in the Sunday School…I work with Barbara in the Sunday School, she’s our superintendent and I’m the secretary.  I love being in there with the kids and with Barbara—we have a great time together.

Carolyn:  Barbara, I think that you’re out in community doing institutional work—is that right?

Barbara:  Yes, and that came about very unexpectedly, and I love it!  It’s very rewarding.

Carolyn:  I think one of the things that the residents appreciate is that there is transportation to church and to the lectures. It really enables us to continue to be enjoying the things that are the most important to us.

Barbara: .…And the outings that we have and the beautiful places!  People have lived in this San Francisco area all of their lives and they haven’t seen some of things that we see. 

Carolyn:  We know that the metaphysics, the praying for ourselves, for our church, for the world, is of utmost importance; but we do have fun. Shirley, I think you’ve actually invited friends from the around Bay Area to come and join in on the activities.

Shirley: I have had such a wonderful sense of having company here. It’s a lovely place. I have friends who come and I have two friends who are coming in a day or two and they are staying for two or three days and going on one of the excursions up to Bodega Bay.

Carolyn:  We treasure our residents. You provide a wonderful support to the healing ministry of Arden Wood.  And that’s really why we are all here; we want to support that healing. Thank you so much for being such wonderful members of our community.

Shirley:  Thank you.  We love being here!

Barbara:  We’re grateful that you asked. At Arden Wood we have this wonderful ongoing sense of gratitude for what we have. The longer my time here, the more I appreciate it…and all of you!