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Ponderings: On Understanding

Updated on September 28, 2016
marcoujor profile image

With a Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) from University of Pennsylvania in 1985, Maria uses a love for music in working with others.

Project Good Words
Project Good Words | Source

My Inspiration

In 2014, Jo_Goldsmith11 took it upon herself to initiate the Light2Love Project Good Words.

Jo pledged to use good words and publish articles used to empower, encourage, support and defend those who need to be shown love.

Jo offered us a good word for each week to focus our thoughts, behaviors and actions on...In the 12th week, Jo wrote her perspective on the word understand.

However, as 2014 came to an end, Jo filed away her Good Word articles - as she begins the process of publishing it in e-book'. Shyron E. Shenko continues to write a beautiful poem to accompany each Good Word to inspire and lead us.

The ripple effect of the Good Words Project throughout the HubVille community has been heartwarming.

Please join me with some of my musical thoughts and reflections on the word understand...

To Listen

As a nurse, I have learned the skill of being a good listener. Even the best of listeners cannot understand what a person is experiencing at any given time.

Hallucinations or delusions are examples of what I do not understand through experience.

I have never heard angry voices screaming inside my head to hurt myself. I have never been convinced that I am the Queen of England being held against my will by evil doers.

By attentively listening, I can detect and observe feelings such as fear, anxiety, suspicion, anger.

Now feelings are something that we universally understand.

Cause each time I feel it slipping away, just makes me wanna cry,

What's so funny 'bout peace, love, and understanding?

— Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello: Peace, Love and Understanding

The Golden Rule

I recently assumed the role of 'concerned family' when my husband was involved in an auto accident. I drove him to a hospital ER near his place of work.

'G' was 'walking and talking' and there was one other client in the waiting room. I was feeling like I could take 'my patient' home in no time flat and get him settled comfortably.

There was a 45-minute delay as a nurse had come out for 'G' at 2:45PM. As he had stepped out for a breath of air, I was brusquely informed that someone would be back. This happened at 3:30PM after the shift change.

After four hours, we left. I never got the customer satisfaction survey I asked for ... As we went on our way, three staff stood around the front desk chatting and laughing away.

Elvis Costello's song has been a mantra for me since the start of nursing school in 1979: "What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding...?"

I decided after my trip to the ER to remind my beautiful nursing students to always be understanding and use the Golden Rule with their clients and families... that's no joke!

Ebony And Ivory Live Together In Perfect Harmony

Side By Side On My Piano Keyboard, Oh Lord, Why Don't We?

— Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder: Ebony and Ivory

To Accept

What symbolism in "Ebony and Ivory" as performed by two of the greatest musicians - Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder.

Respect. Acceptance. Understanding...

In 30-years of nursing I have cared for people with every color skin on the spectrum. I have treated individuals with countless ethnic, religious, social and sexual backgrounds.

I would never pretend to understand the nuances of each culture. I won't hesitate to get assist from translators to prevent language barriers - imagining how frightening that situation must be for a client.

And I don't underestimate the importance of observation, kindness and the power of touch.

If I ever were to complete a customer satisfaction survey, about "G's" recent experience in the ER, I would write an addendum for a sweet Hispanic woman, all alone, very pregnant, waiting for results to a test (presumably an ultrasound).

I watched someone in scrubs approach her and bark that it would be 'a few minutes' for the test results (wow, that seemed fast in this ER, which I now realized stood for Extremely Rude).

This woman looked lost, frightened and close to tears. She was massaging her big belly -- who knew if she were in pain or comforting her baby or both? Who cared? She was in a hospital. I wondered what was in her mind, as I struggled with my own feelings about the situation.

Our eyes connected. I guess that was all I needed. I sat with her a few minutes, held her hand and brought a table over that she could elevate her feet to rest more comfortably.

'A few minutes' was actually more like thirty minutes. But this lady looked calmer, smiled and whispered Gracias to me as she went back to get her results.

We All Know That People Are The Same Where Ever We Go
There Is Good And Bad In Ev'ryone,
We Learn To Live, We Learn To Give
Each Other What We Need To Survive Together Alive."

Respect. Acceptance. Understanding...


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    • marcoujor profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Jordan 

      6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      If they listen to phone surveys...who know, Car51...but, yes, I did.

    • Car51 profile image


      6 years ago

      Did you ever voice your bad hospital emergency room experience to them? They should know. Help them to be more understanding!

    • marcoujor profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Jordan 

      6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Jo,

      It's always so lovely when you stop I would have no inspiration without you, I do BELIEVE...

      Hoping you have a chance to stop by this week's post as I have a little something to say to YOU, dear friend.

      Have a peaceful week. Love and hugs, Maria

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image


      6 years ago

      This is so awesome! Once again Maria you are so eloquent with your words and the choices of songs! What a blessing it is to learn of Vicki!

      Yea! :-) So happy to hear she has her novels and Safe Harbor is a definite must read I am sure! Her article on berevement really touched my heart, when I lost my sister. Praise God for you and for Vicki!

      Two exceptional souls sharing the good with others.

      Voted up to the Angels and shared. :-) Shalom

    • marcoujor profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Jordan 

      6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Genna, Always so lovely to see you, dear friend. I'm glad you are discovering Vicki -- you'll find her writing to be amazing and quite helpful to those who have experienced loss in their life.

      Paula, Love you and this awesome comment...happy to have you in my world and lucky to call you friend.

      Love and hugs to you both, Maria

    • fpherj48 profile image


      6 years ago from Carson City

      Maria......Hey GF, I am missing you. I know you're busy teaching, as well as the long list of "other" activities in your crazy schedule....hope all is well. Sorry to hear G had an accident. Was he eventually SEEN in the ER...or did I misunderstand?

      Maria.....I don't dare even "go there," when it comes to ER experiences. So so many of them with family & friends and more frustration and disappointment than I even want to share!

      You are the perfect person to be a "Nurse." When health-related issues are at hand, "understanding," should be the first and constant treatment. It is very important to "listen," and I know first-hand you are an expert listener. I know you'll agree with me that it's nearly an "art-form" to really listen.....not just "hear." After years of practice, some of us may start believing we can read minds!

      I'll agree with you about dear Vicki. She is one lovely, compassionate and smart lady. The world needs more of both of you.

      Wonderful hub (and music) as always, Maria, my friend. UP--UABI--pinned & tweeted.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Ohhh, that beautiful word, “understanding.” It’s one of my favorites. And it means different things, which you have written about here so well! For example, we should listen, rather than hear. I was so sorry to learn about your husband’s accident. And all those hours in the ER; I have had similar experiences with the exceptionally rude side of the coin of the definition of ER. How lucky that poor pregnant lady in ER was that you were there for her. When we are gifted with such humanity and understanding, I truly believe that we carry this with us, and “pay it forward,” so to speak.

      Thank you for the intro with Vicki. I very much like her clever and unique website title, “Life Talks – I Write.” I plan to visit her there, soon. Her series on bereavement and loss is so needed and valuable. When I lost my dear Mum, I read a book on loss; it was okay, but strangely enough it seemed to be lacking warmth and understanding from a realistic, down to earth perspective.

      Voted up and shared. Hugs.

    • marcoujor profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Jordan 

      6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Oh my dear Vicki, you have certainly written a generous and beautiful comment to me and your many friends. I am aware of how busy you have been of late and am so appreciative of you carving out time to share your wisdom, perspective and thoughts with us. Also thrilled that you love Phil Collins as much as I do...

      Peg, I appreciate your comments, which show your compassion, advocacy and inner beauty. You join the ranks of those in our community who bring the light of hope to others through your written word as well. Thanks for the votes too.

      Love you both, hugs, and have a peaceful night, Maria

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      6 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Your ER story is truly an example where the words "There must be some misunderstanding" apply. We have to cling to the hope that these people, entrusted to our care, will provide comfort as well as healing in an atmosphere of kindness and concern for our emotional and physical health. As you experienced, this is not always the way things go. I was reminded of so many visits to the ER with family members whose fear and pain should have engendered compassion, yet, was met with indifference and distraction with seemingly more important social interactions with peers taking their time. Like you, I'm mentally filling out the customer satisfaction survey and have done so literally when this sort of treatment is given.

      Ebony and ivory, what a key musical statement and one that's well needed in today's world of civil unrest (Missouri comes to mind) and fear (Ebola). Some of our deep rooted values like love and kindness are missing. "What the world needs now, is love sweet love...It's the only thing there's just too little of".

      Political divisiveness, us against them and blaming others has taken over our world.

      You bring to light those who choose to stand apart from these who have forgotten the greatest commandment - "to love one another", with people like Jo Goldsmith and Vicki W, Faith Reaper, Martie C, Mckbirdbks, Genna and many others who bring us the good words of hope. Bravo and many votes up.

      Love to you and yours, Peg

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Tillsontitan Thank you for your kind thoughts. Always appreciated.

      Gail. thanks for your download of my workbook. Hope you will like it. and thank you for your interest.

      bravewarrior - love your support, always, thank you.

      always exploring - many thanks for your interest in my work!

      Faith Reaper - you're a sweetheart, and I always love to see your comments!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hello everyone,

      Gosh, it's been a while since I saw several of you, and I am just so happy to be here again! Life happens and things just get a bit busy sometimes.

      However, I have been reading here, and oh my, it really doesn't take much time to realise that many of your lovely comments on Maria's beautiful musical tribute to "understanding" have also been directed to me. How could I have such a nice place in your hearts?

      I'm so humbly thankful for your kind words, and Maria for your wonderful understanding of my tardiness in thanking all of your friends who have come to see your lovely work and mentioned me!

      Well, Maria, being the phenomenal friend that she is, not only mentioned me, but pretty well presented a separate article on me! How do you thank someone for that?

      Hard not to feel overwhelmed at her generosity, and I confess, I do. Thank you so much, my very dear friend

      I;m going to be "out of order" here, and just thank you first dear Maria. I love your musical abilities! I know how much music means to you, and as I write this I know you will be driving to your teaching experience of the day. I've often thought I would like to be making that drive with you, just to experience your musical selections in action!

      I was interested in your ER room report, as it showed such a lack of caring and understanding. You try to make excuses for this sometimes, thinking nurses might have been just tired, but then that quickly becomes negated when you realize they were talking and laughing together while anxious patients waited for service.

      I was touched that you offered such a practical and loving gesture of compassion to the pregnant lady. Such actions don't require genius or hard work, just compassion, and an understanding look. I just know you'll seize this opportunity by indelibly imprinting this on the minds and hearts of your young students.

      Phil Collins is one of my favorite musicians too. Always easy to understand, always heartfelt in his songs. One of the greats!

      Dear Maria, to sum up, I loved your musical tribute and I thank you so much for the honor of passing the baton to me, and your very kind inclusion of me in this lovely article. You're definitely one of the "greats" too.

    • marcoujor profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Jordan 

      6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Randi,

      "G" is doing ever so much better and thank you for this sweet comment. I'm happy you love Phil and Genesis as much as I do.

      Have a peaceful day. Love and hugs, Maria

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 

      6 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      I have to agree with the consensus. When it comes to understanding and compassion, I think of sad about your unfortunate ER experience, especially when you know how it, should be done. I do hope "G" is doing ok and feeling better. Thank you for sharing. And thank you for being Phil and Genesis into the mix!

    • marcoujor profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Jordan 

      6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Bill, What a wise comment! "One size doesn't fit all" anywhere really and I thank you for reminding us of this... always good to see you here.

      Ruby, I believe that you have indeed worked with the best and the worst as I have...I know that you fit into "the best" category. Your compassion and care are as beautiful as you.

      Theresa, Your comment is generous and gracious, just like you. I wish there were more folks in the world like you, sweet girlfriend. Thanks for always adding a smile to my day.

      shan, Your thoughts are some that have also crossed my mind honestly. I think when folks in health care stop caring, they need to find another line of work. I appreciate you and your visit so much.

      I'm off to work with five of the sweetest young ladies who are going to make awesome nurses in their clinical rotation...will catch up with y'all later. Love and hugs, Maria

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Hi Maria. It's sad to watch things like you describe in the ER happen every day, all around us. I wonder, though, if it is really a matter of not understanding in these type of situations or of just not caring at all. People seem to want others to understand them without trying to look at things from another perspective.

      It makes me happy that there are people like you in the world, though. A smile or a word of comfort. Any kind gesture, really, can make all the difference.

      And in terms of other aspects of life, understanding is what allows relationships to endure. You've articulated it beautifully. :)

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      6 years ago from southern USA

      Tears ... I almost could not finish reading this insightful hub here on the "Good Word, Understand" ... and you are the poster girl for that word, let me tell you the truth, dear Maria! There needs to be a billion more just like you in this world, but I am so glad the one and only you are here now doing what you do best ... to understand others, especially in difficult times, by listening ... is what is most important.

      I am so looking forward to dear Vicki's hub on the "Good Word, Understand" ... and thank you so much for sharing about her book and all of the other beautiful character traits that make Vicki who she is in this life.

      I appreciate the word, "Understand" so much more now after reading here.

      Voted up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

      Love you,

      Theresa aka Faith Reaper

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I love your compassion for others, few people would take the time to console another person as you did with the pregnant woman. The flippant way she was treated is a shame. I've worked with some of the best nurses and I'm sorry to say, " The worst. " I loved the video, Ebony and Ivory. I've read some of Vicki's work. I must read about her husband, I didn't know this. Thank you Mar. I agree with Bill, you're one in a million and I'm happy to call you friend. God Bless you, G and Andy.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I learned to understand as a teacher. One size does not fit all in a classroom, and either a teacher learns to understand that, or they do not last long in the profession. As always, a quality read by a quality person.



    • marcoujor profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Jordan 

      6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Hi my friends,

      Mary, Thanks for this wonderful comment, the share, the votes and your lovely e-mail as well. I will be in touch personally mid week as I have 'no class (LOL)' on Wednesday.

      Fiddleman, What a lovely thing to say and thanks much for stopping by.

      Gail, Thanks for such a compassionate and understanding comment. The nurse in you never goes 'off duty' that's for sure. I believe you will greatly appreciate Vicki's Workbook - I think it is helpful, practical and supportive without being at all clinical.

      Sha, I totally agree with your mindset on an ER. And I have been to some terrific ones as well. This one fell far from that mark.

      Mike, My hubby is well and fortunate. If waiting is the worst we endured, I feel quite can be fixed or replaced. I've been behind with my "Amazon" I also added books that are written by you and dear Shauna to 'your good words' of INSPIRATION and PEACE in my series.

      Off to teach a new group of will catch up with you all as my time permits...thanks for UNDERSTANDING (LOL)! Hugs, mar

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      6 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Mar, I hope that your husband is recovering well from his accident and the ER experience. Those times are so stressful for all those involved. The management of the ER sure needs to reevaluate their procedures if you walked away with such angst.

      You fitted song lyrics so well to your theme here. And the Amazon capsule is a nice touch.

      Great 'Good Word' and addition to your series promoting the positive.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      Mar, I will never understand why ER personnel allow people to wait and wait and wait. Does emergency not set a sense of urgency?

      I know why your patients (and friends) love you so much. You're patient, compassionate, understanding, supportive, and very loving.

      Vicki is a great person to pass the understanding baton to. She understands grief and what it takes to get through it. I look forward to her post.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      6 years ago from South Carolina

      Dear Maria,

      Hope your husband is doing okay. Sorry the long wait in the ER exacerbated his pain and anxiety, instead of helping alleviate it.

      How like you to be comforting a "stranger" in a time of distress and also to be sharing your ER experience with your students in an effort to give them awareness about the importance of treating patients with compassionate understanding.

      Thanks also for leading readers to Vicki's excellent website. I was not aware of her workbook and just ordered a Kindle version through Amazon.

      Blessings, Hugs & Love,


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      It is obvious you are a kind understanding person. Good writing and a wonderful message.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Maria, the passion and love it takes to be understanding are so evident in your personality. Always looking out for the other guy, always caring and willing to help...all qualities of understanding. You are a sweetheart and example to us all!

      Vicki's hard earned understanding shows how compassionate she is and she deserves great success for her willingness to help others.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting, and shared.


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