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

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20

May

2022

The wasp who lives with me

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday May 19, 2022

 

I don’t live alone anymore. For the past few days, I have shared my home with a wasp. A black-and-yellow wasp, that is, not a White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant WASP. 

            I don’t know how this particular insect got into the house. I keep my doors closed. I have screens on all my windows. Nevertheless, the other day, a wasp came buzzing into my office. It circled around me a few times, settled on my screen, watched the cursor go by, circled me again, peered at my face, and flew off. 

            It did a similar routine that evening, when I was cooking supper.

            Almost as if it was looking for company.

            I wonder if it’s lonely.


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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: prayer, lonely, Wasp

13

May

2022

Pow! How Batman led me astray

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday May 12, 2022

 

We all know about life’s major decisions. You know this decision will affect you for the rest of your life. 

            I am only realizing, late in my life, that smaller decisions, things I didn’t bother thinking twice about at the time, can also affect the rest of one’s life. 

            When I was ten, I regularly went to a barbershop a couple of blocks away. The barber kept a stack of comic books for his customers to look at while they waited. 

            I got hooked on Batman. I loved the way he dispatched his foes with a single mighty uppercut that came all the way up from the floor. Ka-Pow! Blam! Smash!

            My family moved away from that barbershop, but I never lost that mental image of Batman’s invincible fists. 


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13

May

2022

The gap between cause and correspondence

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday May 5, 2022

 

The coyotes were howling on the hill above my home, the other night. A. howl echoed through the woods. Then another. And several more. Accompanied by a multitude of something like barks. Punctuated by a whole series of high-pitched yips, which I assumed was coyote pups joining in with their elders.

            Not long after, a magnificent full moon rose over the hill.

            I’m sure some of you immediately thought, “They were howling at the moon!”

            No, they weren’t. They started howling long before the moon appeared. 

 

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3

May

2022

The night Huey, Dewey, and Louie died

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday April 21, 2022

 

I remember the night like yesterday. Our daughter Sharon called from Edmonton. “It’s over,” she said, and started sobbing.

            Sharon was in her mid-thirties at the time.  “Finally, one of the in-vitro fertilizations worked in a petri dish. Three cell blobs were implanted and my body registered the appropriate hormonal response. I was pregnant after almost a year of trying.”

            She named the three “blobs” – properly, blastocysts – Huey, Dewey, and Louis. Because A, B, and C, or 1, 2, 3 sounded too generic.

            Because of her age, hers was considered a “high-risk” pregnancy. She had ultrasound tests almost weekly. 

            And then one week, there were only two blobs left. 

            And about a week later, the ultrasound showed no blobs at all. 

            That’s when Sharon called to say, “It’s over.”


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3

May

2022

Random thoughts on an Easter morning

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday April 21, 2022

 

My alarm went off at 5:30 Easter morning. Through my window, on the far side of the lake, a full moon was slipping behind the mountains. 

            I heard a thump. A bird had flown into my window. Quail aren’t noted for intelligence – but even they know it’s easier to find sunflower seeds at my feeder than to scrabble around in the undergrowth looking for leftovers from last fall. 

            A quail, a nerf-ball of feathers, lay motionless on my deck. Broken its neck when it hit the glass, I assumed. 

            But I had an Easter sunrise service to attend. So I left it for later. 


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3

May

2022

Warning: may contain disturbing images

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday April 14, 2022

 

These days, every newscast about the war in Ukraine includes a warning about “disturbing images.”

            Victims lying in the streets, hands tied behind their backs, a bullet hole in their heads. Bodies, wrapped in plastic, laid out like speed bumps. Trenches with the dead stacked like sardines. 

            Tomorrow’s “Good Friday” church services should carry a similar warning: “This service may contain disturbing images.”


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14

Apr

2022

Facing up to life’s losses

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday March 31, 2022

 

A summer evening, in beautiful Butchart’s Gardens, near  Victoria. B.C. On a grassy meadow, people -- young, old, and in-between -- sprawled on blankets, listening to entertainment from the Gardens’ open-air stage. 

            The singer was belting out a Barry Manilow piece. 

I write the songs that make the whole world sing.

I write the songs, I write the songs.

            Several people got up and left. I felt sorry for the performer.

            It must be discouraging for any performer to watch people leaving. It would have been discouraging for Barry Manilow himself, if he’d been there. No matter how many million songs you’ve sold worldwide, it hurts when people don’t want to hear your song. 

            Who are you, when what you’re good at doesn’t appeal anymore? 


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1

Apr

2022

Resonating with the right energies

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday March 31, 2022

 

In her semi-memoir Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert describes being taught Balinese meditation. She had just spent four months in India learning -- sometimes painfully -- Yoga meditation. It involved physical postures that had to be practiced. And memorized texts that must be repeated precisely. Over and over.

            But her guru in Bali simply said, “Smile.”

            It was the Balinese attitude -- Smile. Always smile. Always face the world cheerfully. 

            It seems to me there’s an underlying truth there. We receive what we’re tuned to. 


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29

Mar

2022

When it feels good to yell at God

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday February 24, 2022

 

I took my bicycle for a ride along the Mission Creek Greenway in Kelowna, not long ago. I didn’t bother checking a map –why bother? The creek runs down to the lake; the Greenway follows the creek; what could go wrong?

            Except that the trail I was riding along abruptly ended at a wire fence.

            Clearly, the main trail had diverged somewhere, but I was so preoccupied with my own  ride that I didn’t  notice. It must be somewhere to my left. And fortunately, there was a trail of sorts leading that direction. 

            The trail was rough, but passable. Until I got to a little stream, seeping down through millennia of rotting vegetation, just too wide to leap across. 


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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: God, Job, bicycle, Satan

29

Mar

2022

Getting a grasp of my own ego

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday February 17, 2022

 

From my office chair, I can look up and see a an eight-foot shelf filled with books I helped to publish. I recognize every title. I know every author. I remember delving into every subject. 

            I had a hand – or at least a pencil – in every one of those books. 

            And then, abruptly, the authors, the subjects, the textual content, are all strangers. They’re still good books. Still worth reading. But they’re not mine anymore. 

            In serious discussions of faith and doctrine, a friend frequently ventures something like: “I’m not sure that I know what I’m talking about, but isn’t this all about ego somehow?”

            Yes it is. It’s almost always about ego.


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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: God, books, ego

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