Place is too important of a word to have just one meaning:
Know your place.
Save my place.
Win, place, show.
Your place or mine?
My place in the world.
We all come from many places but all our places, whether they are a physical, social, or emotional place, is connected to our spirituality. Knowing even one of our places helps to understand spirituality.
Where you are born influences spirituality immensely. I was born in Topeka, Kansas. Kansas brings many things to mind—farm background, conservative, Christian, large family, never been to the big cities on the coast. Knowing my place of birth helps you to understand my spirituality. The only problem is most of these stereotypes do not fit me. I may have started there, but I am not in Kansas anymore.
Other places, physical, social, and emotional, have caused growth and change. I am in a different place then I was. The same is true of all us and all of our patients.
Nursing is a profession that deals with people from a plethora of places. We deal with people from Uganda to Utah, Christian to Muslin to Hindu to Buddhist to atheist, young to old, male to female, and everything that does not fit our categories. Each person we deal with has a different viewpoint, a different spiritualty—all from different places.
Differences create conflict. When we think that we understand a person's place, we interact in certain ways that can be wrong. Miscommunication, anger, and embarrassment all occur when we react as if a person is of one place but they are of a completely different one.
It is not hard to believe that there is value in understanding a person better. However, in practice, when such offense occurs, what do you do?
This brings us to the most important place of all. A place of forgiveness. Place influences many parts of ourselves; not just the spiritual. Forgiveness is primarily spiritual. This special place is essential to nursing.
Forgiveness is not forgetting what a person has done or what has been done to you. Nor is it approving any action. Forgiveness is releasing an experience from the stranglehold it has on our ability to think and feel what we need to think and feel.
Forgiveness is the ability to start again.