Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

To make Comments write directly to Jim at jimt@quixotic.ca


Published on Sunday, May 9, 2021

Because that’s what mothers do

Sunday May 9, 2021


Today is Mother’s Day.

            I had a mother. That’s possibly the only statement that every human on the planet can affirm without qualification. Also any mammal.

            In the cause of gender equality, I could also argue that every mammal also had a father, but that’s not necessarily true anymore. Dolly, the cloned sheep, didn’t. 

            I’m tempted to say that every living thing had a mother, but I’m not convinced that laying eggs in a riverbed or casting spores to the wind qualifies as mothering. The new life may require female DNA, but in my mental dictionary, mothering Involves more than abandoning one’s offspring to chance. 

            When we scattered our son’s ashes in the ocean off Vancouver Island, his sister said a few words about visiting her older brother during his final month in hospital. 

            His grandfather recited a poem, about dying young. 

            I read a passage from one of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books that seemed relevant to his story. 

            And his mother began, “From the moment I first felt you moving in my womb…”

            With almost a sense of shock, I realized that being a mother starts nine months earlier than being a father. 


Both joy and pain

            She had more time with him, and had more influence on his life, than I did.

            Although the patterns of family life are changing, society in general still expects the father to be the breadwinner, the mother to be the caregiver. 

            Typically, the mother gets up in the middle of the night – especially if the baby is still breast-feeding. 

            Typically, mom shapes the infant’s most formative years. 

            Typically, mom sacrifices the most in any family. 

            My mother gave up her profession, her home, her national roots, to have me. 

            She died when I was 36. I didn’t love her as much as I should have. After all, I was building my own career; I had worlds to conquer; I had miles to go before I sleep. 

            I took my mother for granted. Maybe we all do. 

            Now, much later in life, when I no longer have a mother, and even more, when my daughter no longer has a mother, and my grand-children have no grandmother, I begin to sense how much they’re missing. And how much I’m missing. 


Getting beyond ego

            I thought of this the other day, in a heated Zoom discussion about a different subject entirely. One of the participants said, “Isn’t this really all about ego?”

            Yes, it is. It is always about ago. About how this affects me, Me, ME. 

            The discussion had focussed subduing ego. Keeping it under control -- a recurring theme from mystics ancient and modern, from Meister Eckhardt to Eckhardt Tolle, from Julian of Norwich to Thomas Merton. 

            I believe we only cast aside our egos when someone we love is in peril. When your only child is swept away by a river, and you roar into the water whether or not you can swim. 

            When your baby girl has a raging fever, and you sit up all night, listening to every breath in the darkness. 

            When your son spills his bike on the street, and you race out, daring that truck to hit you. 

            In my experience, mothers are more likely -- or perhaps have more opportunities -- to display that ego-squelching commitment than men. And that applies to adoptive moms just as much as to birth mothers.


Right under my heart

            Of course there are uncaring mothers. And incompetent mothers. I can read about them in my newspaper pretty much every day. 

            And there are mothers who ride their own ego train through pregnancy, bequeathing to their unborn infant a drug dependency or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, leaving society to pick up the pieces. 

            But you might notice that those are afflictions the father cannot pass on to his children. Because those children have never been part of his body. They have never shared his blood, his immunities, the constant thump-thump of his heart. 

            Only mothers can do that. 

            Despite what Hollywood says, love does not mean never having to say you’re sorry. Love, in fact, means always having to say you’re sorry. 

            Sorry I can’t always be there for you. Sorry that you’ve chosen to go your own way, without me. Sorry that I can’t still wrap myself around you, enfold you, provide for you. 

            Love is continuing to feel you right under my heart, even when you’re not there anymore.

            Because that’s what mothers do. 


Copyright © 2021 by Jim Taylor. Non-profit use in congregations and study groups encouraged; links from other blogs welcomed; all other rights reserved.

            To send comments, to subscribe, or to unsubscribe, write jimt@quixotic.ca





Lat week’s column, advocating vaccinations, produced sharply divided opinions pro and con – as you might expect. My thanks to Ray Shaver, David  Carr, Anne McRae, Florence Driedger, and Louise Miles who expressed support, without substantive letters. 

            On the other hand….


A woman (I shall withhold her name) wrote: “You seem to watch and follow only mainstream media, all owned by six billionaires. Perhaps you should look at the other side of the story.”

            She referred me to an angry 15-minute video rant against vaccination, which I won’t pass on and which I quit watching after the speaker’s first assertion was a demonstrable lie. 


Joan Janzen unsubscribed with this indictment: “I'm tired of your ignorant poorly researched and misinformed take on the Covid issues. I can't believe you would promote a jab that is not even a vaccine. People are dying in droves from this. Pretty much everything you have said just goes along with the mainstream news which is propaganda.

            “You have lost your once objective view of what's going on in the world and succumbed to the lies and fear of those who are trying to take over. It's shocking to see how you have been taken in by these lies. For your own and the sake of your subscribers, research what you are propagating and stop believing the lies.”


The third negative letter came from Shelley Eberle: “I feel bullied by your journalism. I do not believe I am ‘simply wrong’ in my opposition to vaccinations. I am not a scientist or a health practitioner.  I am a Christian but I have never used the Bible to support my decision; it really doesn’t have anything to do with religion for me.  To refuse a jab is about conscience for me.  I believe in the power of my own immune system, to support and strengthen it.

            “Covid is real, no denying that.  H1N1 and the Norwalk Flu were also real and killed a lot of vulnerable people. Viruses are the new normal and we have to learn to live with them.  We all have different perceptions of risk (fear) and how we want to protect ourselves.  If you choose a vaccine to feel protected that’s your choice.  If you decide the risk of the vaccine is as great as the risk of the virus then that’s also your choice.

            “I don’t believe you can compare the choice of refusing a Covid vaccine to the lobby for killing Jews, racism, speeding or even small pox and polio.  Good grief!

            “I guess I will be exposing myself to all viruses, and if I become ill, I believe I will recover with true, long lasting immunity.  Yes, it’s a risk but I am not going to rely on evolving science, pharma, or any powers that don’t support my conscience.”


Now for some of the supportive letters. 


Jody Lafontaine: “I am proud to know you and know you speak and write the truth. I am so tired of all the reasons people have for not taking the vaccine and all the ways people talk about how they circumvent the rules --  be it wearing a mask, staying home in their bubble, or getting around travel restrictions all because it is their right to do what they please…”


Rob Dummermuth: “I have concerns with our emphasis on ‘rights’ and ‘freedoms’. It seems that the only ‘right’ I can have is the right to respect the rights of others around me. If I enforce the rights I have, it can only be abuse of those around me. I like to think more of the ‘responsibility’ of free speech, the ‘responsibility’ of religion, indeed even the ‘responsibility’ of freedom, . . and in the Covid context, the ‘responsibility’ of vaccines.”


Tom Watson: “I'm astounded that in the U.S. some 45% of Republican voters are hesitant about getting vaccinated. Also, in Canada, some political voices and some religious voices have been speaking out against vaccinations, against wearing masks, and against anything designed to regulate their right to go where they want, and do what they want, and gather as they see fit in groups. We don't live on individual islands; we're in this together.”


Bob Rollwagen: “I had to carry the yellow vaccination booklet when I led safaris in Kenya and Tanzania and to deal with precaution for Malaria. I agree with you. A year from now, if someone shows up at a hospital with Covid and has no record of being vaccinated, they should go to the back of the line for all procedures. Our personal constitutional rights go as far as our arm reaches, and end when they enter another person’s space in a negative fashion, like sharing disease.

            “Unfortunately, we also have politics being put ahead of doing the right thing to save lives.” 


Ted Spencer: “Despite having resolved that I’m too old to get really steamed about stuff anymore, I still get really steamed about stuff. The zonks would far rather believe an internet lie than solid scientific evidence -- setting aside the recognition that the internet delivering the lie is the last word in scientific logic from one end to the other. We occasionally bump into one of these persons and don’t know which way to look. There’s obviously no point in arguing.

            “I’ve begun to suspect that, in the rather unlikely event that some vestige of the human race makes it to the distant future, our time will become known as the ‘idiocene’ where the idiots ran the show.”

            “You un-shot idiots: don’t take your chances with a pissed-off geezer. I’ve got very little to lose at this point.”






If you want to comment on something, write me at jimt@quixotic.ca. Or just hit the ‘Reply’ button.

            To subscribe or unsubscribe, send me an e-mail message at the address above. Or subscribe electronically by sending a blank e-mail (no message) to sharpedges-subscribe@lists.quixotic.ca. Similarly, you can un-subscribe at sharpedges-unsubscribe@lists.quixotic.ca.

            You can now access current columns and seven years of archives at http://quixotic.ca

            I write a second column each Wednesday, called Soft Edges, which deals somewhat more gently with issues of life and faith. To sign up for Soft Edges, write to me directly at the address above, or send a blank e-mail to softedges-subscribe@lists.quixotic.ca

            And for those of you who like poetry, you might check my webpage https://quixotic.ca/My-Poetry. If you’d like to receive notifications about new poems, write me at jimt@quixotic.ca, or subscribe yourself to the list by sending a blank email (no message) to poetry-subscribe@lists.quixotic.ca(If it doesn’t work, please let me know.)






To use the links in this section, you’ll have to insert the necessary symbols. (This is to circumvent filters that think some of these links are spam.)

            Wayne Irwin's “Churchweb Canada,” is an inexpensive service for any congregation wanting to develop a web presence, with free consultation. http://wwwDOTchurchwebcanadaDOTca. He set up my webpage, and he doesn’t charge enough.

            I recommend Isabel Gibson’s thoughtful and well-written blog, wwwDOTtraditionaliconoclastDOTcom. She also runs beautiful pictures. Her Thanksgiving presentation on the old hymn, For the Beauty of the Earth, Is, well, beautiful -- https://www.traditionaliconoclast.com/2019/10/13/for/

            Tom Watson writes a weekly blog called “The View from Grandpa Tom’s Balcony” -- ruminations on various subjects, and feedback from Tom’s readers. Write him at tomwatsoATgmailDOTcom (NB that’s “watso” not “watson”)



            The late Alva Wood’s collection of satiric and sometimes wildly funny columns about a mythical village’s misadventures now have an archive (don’t ask how this happened) on my website: http://quixotic.ca/Alva-Wood-Archive. Feel free to browse all 550 columns


Comments (0)Number of views (83)

Author: Jim Taylor

Categories: Sharp Edges

Tags: Mothers, ego



"gate of the year" #MeToo 150th birthday 1950s 1954 1972 1984 215 3G 9/11 A God That Could Be Real abduction abortion Abrams abuse achievement Adam addiction Addis Ababa adoption Adrian Dix affirmative action aging agnostics Ahriman Ahura Mazda airlines airport killings Alabama albinism albinos Alexa algorithms Allegations Almighty Almighty God alone ALS alt-right altruism Amanda Gorman Amanda Todd Amazon American empire Amerika Amherst amnesia analysis Andrea Constant Andrew Copeland Taylor anger animals anniversaries Anthropocene antidote Ants aphrodisiac Apologies apoptosis App Store Archives Ardern Aristotle armistice Armstrong Army and Navy stores Art artifacts artists ashes Asian assisted death astronomy atheists atonement atropine Attawapiscat attitudes attraction audits Aunt Jemima authorities authorities. Bible autism automation autumn B.C. election B.C. Health Ministry B.C. Legislature B-2 baby Bach bad news baggage Bahai Banda banning books Baptism Barabbas barbed wire barbers barriers Bashar al Assad BC BC Conference Beans bears beauty Beaver Beethoven beginnings behaviour bel-2 belief systems beliefs belonging benefits Bernardo Berners-Lee berries Bible biblical sex Biden Bill C-6 billboards billionaire BioScience birds birth birthday birthdays Bitcoin Black history Blackmore blessings blockades blood blood donors Bloomberg Blue Christmas boar body Bohr bolide Bolivia Bolivian women BOMBHEAD bombing bombings bombs books border patrol borrowing both/and bottom up Bountiful Brahms brain development brains Brazil breath breathe breathing Brexit broken Bruce McLeod bubbles Buber Buddha Buddhism Bulkley bulldozers bullets bullying burials bush pilots butterflies butterfly Calendar California Cambridge Analytica. Facebook cameras campfire Canada Canada Day Canadian Blood services Canal Flats cancer Canute Capitol Capp caregivers Caribbean caring Carnaval. Mardi Gras carousel cars Carter Commission cash cats cave CBC Cecil the lion. Zanda CentrePiece CF chance change Charlie Gard Charlottesville Charter of Compassion Checklists checkups chemical weapons Chesapeake Bay Retriever Chesterton Child Advocacy Centre child trafficking children Chile Chile. Allende China chivalry chocolates choice choices choirs Christchurch Christian Christianity Christians Christina Rossetti Christine Blasey Ford Christmas Christmas Eve Christmas gathering Christmas lights Christmas tree Christmas trees Christopher Plummer church churches circle of life Clarissa Pinkola Estés Clichés cliffhanger climate change clocks close votes clouds Coastal GasLink coastal tribes coffee coincidence collaboration collective work colonial mindset colonies Colten Boushie Columbia River Columbia River Treaty comfort communication Communion community compassion complexity composers composting computer processes conception conclusions Confederacy Confederate statues confessions confidence Confirmation confusion Congo Congress Conrad Black consciousness consensual consent conservative Conservative Party conspiracies conspiracy constitution contraception contrasts Conversations conversion therapy copyright coral Cornwallis corona virus corporations corruption Corrymeela Cosby Cougars counter-cultural Countercurrents couple courtesy courts Covenant Coventry Cathedral COVID-19 CPP CPR CRA Craig crashes Crawford Bay creation creche credit credit cards creeds cremation crescent Creston crime criminal crossbills cross-country skiing Crows crucifixion Cruelty crypto-currencies Cultural appropriation cuneiform Curie curling cutbacks cyberbullying Cystic Fibrosis Dalai Lama Damocles Dan Rather dancing Danforth dark matter darkness Darren Osburne Darwin data mining daughter David David Suzuki de Bono dead zone deaf deafness death death survival deaths decision decisions decorations deficit Definitions Delhi Dementia democracy Democratic denial Denny's departure Depression Derek Chauvin Descartes Desiderata despair determinism Devin Kelley dew dawn grass Diana Butler-Bass dinosaurs discontinuities discussion dissent distancing diversity division divorce dog dogs dominance Don Cherry Donald Trump donkey Donna Sinclair doorways Doug Ford Doug Martindale Dr. Keith Roach Dr. Seuss dreaming dreams Drugs ducks Duvalier dying Dylan Thomas earth Earth Day Easter Eat Pray Love Ebola e-cigarettes eclipse economics Eden editing editing by committee Edwards-Sawatzky ego Egypt eight-track tapes Einstein either/or election Elizabeth Gilbert Ellithorpe email embassy emergent emotions Empire encryption English Entropy environment epiphany epitaph Erika van Oyen erosion Esteban Santiago eternal life eternity ethics Ethiopia Eucharist eulogy eunuchs evacuation evacuation orders Evangelical Fellowship Eve Evelyn Glennie Every Note Played everything evil Evolution Exodus expectations experience experiment exploring explosions extinction extinctions extradition extremes extremism eye for an eye Eyes Facebook fairness faith falling leaves False Creek Farmworkers fascist fate fear Fearless Fosdick Fedex feel feminine hygiene Fentanyl Ferrier Fibonacci Field figure skating Fire fireball fireflies fires First Nations Fitbit flirting flooding floods floppy disks flow chart flow charts flowers
Copyright 2021 by Jim Taylor  |  Powered by: Churchweb Canada