Month: September 2013

I’m Just Joking…

There’s not much I can think of that tops my list of “phrases I really hate” than that one.  Most often you’ll find it strategically placed after someone has taken offense to something you have said.  Or, better yet, you’re not sure if someone has taken offense although you feel that there is a strong probability that they have.  So you have to protect yourself.  Throw that up there like some sort of ambiguous coat of armour.  Was that or wasn’t it an insult? Were they just kidding?

I’ve disliked that phrase as long as I can remember.  In fact, I remember those goof ball junior high boys saying “Amanda…Matt really likes you”.  And then as soon as the thought evolved as a potential reality in my head (and my cheeks flushed a lovely shade of purple), inevitably one of them would say “I’m just joking!  But look at how red she is!!”.  Crap heads. Or better still when someone says something and your reaction is clearly not what they are expecting.  Consider the following scenario:

“Hey…I’m thinking of leaving my husband for that guy I met the last time I took the mini van in for inspection.”

“Really?  The guy who has the wife who volunteers all of her time at the soup kitchen while caring for their 3 year old triplets?”

“Nah…I’m just joking.  I just wanted to see what you would say.”

Way to backpedal yourself right the heck out of that situation.  Problem is, “I’m just joking” assumes most people are idiots.  And, while there are days when I certainly wonder, I would like to think (in the moments I spend in Never Never Land) that, for the most part, people are able to catch on to this stuff.  The word “joke” itself means something said or done to provoke amusement or laughter (  I have yet to hear or produce a light-hearted giggle after someone has used this phrase on me.

There’s nothing more annoying to us grammar freaks than the misuse of a word.  Seriously.  Don’t use “joking” if you’re not.  Consider the above conversation again…but substitute in blatant honesty…

“Hey…I’m thinking of leaving my husband for that guy I met the last time I took the mini van in for inspection.”

“Really?  The guy who has the wife who volunteers all of her time at the soup kitchen while caring for their 3 year old triplets?”

“Yes…that one.”

See how easy that is?  Now you’ve said it…and now you get to take accountability for it.  Oooohhhhh….accountability.  The scariest word of the 21st century.  Accountability…a trait that went out with the 8 track player.  There’s another blog here waiting to come out…


God Is At Home…It Is We Who Have Gone Out For A Walk~Meister Eckart

I have had times in my career where I have truly felt blessed to have chosen nursing as a profession.  Among the politics, paperwork and flurry of activity, there exists a space where I am allowed access to these sacred moments in people’s lives.  And they don’t always have to be “critical” times…sometimes they are just little glimpses that catch me off guard.  One thing is for certain though, I have discovered a new respect for the word “home” and how deeply it integrates into each one of our lives.

The above quote has the word “God” at the beginning…really, that could mean whatever “God” is to you-spirit, source, creation, love or any higher power that you believe to be there.  I have come to discover that one of the things people most often say to me as my patient is “I want to go home”.  Sometimes they are just frustrated from hovering in a hospital bed awaiting a routine discharge.  Sometimes they are dying…and it means something else entirely.  Sometimes it is a family member saying “I just need to go home”.  They may be tired, or just needing to seek some peace and clarity.  My mother, a retired nurse, once told me that the two things patients would often verbalize the need for, were their mother and their desire to go home.  As a child, I thought this sounded strange.  As a wife, a mother and a nurse…this makes complete sense.  Unconditional love, comfort and safety.  Lesson understood.

As I have thought more about it over the years, and as different situations have arisen in my life, “home” has expanded it’s meaning for me in a very unique way.  If you have ever witnessed an artist (writer, painter, musician, athlete, singer, actor etc.) engaging in their craft…they are home.  I use “artist” as a very broad term-even a surgeon is an artist when they are deeply entrenched in their work and aligned with their purpose.  Sometimes you will even hear people say they lose track of time or their mind works on a different level.  This happens to me when I write.  I can only describe it as a coming back to the most natural thing ever.  Pure contentment and peace.  For most of us, this is how we perceive our home as well. When I was learning how to play the drums, I had the good fortune of witnessing my drum teacher play a few times.  Instant transformation-you could actually watch it happen.  I am sure the house could have fallen down around him as he was playing-he was in another atmosphere altogether.

I recently had the experience of engaging with a family as they were trying to make some decisions regarding care for their loved one…and I was struck at how the spouse (of 60 years) would softly say “I just need to go home to think” and “if we could just take [the patient] home”.  Whatever it means, home is the center of all that is familiar and clear to us.  And I truly believe that it isn’t always a place-often it is wherever you are at peace and whomever you are with that allows that serenity to happen.

Home really is where the heart is…I think because home is your heart.  We look for it externally…not actually realizing it is right there with us.