Reflection Masthead
Issue 143 - Collections  - October 2016

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True Value
Last week we had the opportunity to meet Lark Mason, long-time appraiser on Antiques Roadshow, who recently relocated his arts and antiquities business from New York City to New Braunfels, Texas.
Speaking to our local antique club, Mason noted that the value of collectible items is only partly captured by the market price. Equally important, he said, is emotional value, stemming from family memories or historical association. (Our snacks were served from one collection he has on consignment: the china used on Air Force One during Ronald Reagan's presidency - see photo to the right!)
Also important, Mason said, is simple beauty, and the pleasure gained by surrounding ourselves with beautiful things.
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Past Issues


2-Creating Sacred Space

3-Leaving Footprints


5-Ordered Life

76-Vanier Visit

87-Wondrous Fear, Holy Awe

91-Crater Lake


101-On Reflections 

102-Morning Moments

108-NBA Championship

110-On Freedom 

112 Robin Williams 


116-Kentucky Epiphany 

119-Christmas Mystery  


121-Radical Amazement 

122-St.John's Bible 

124-Botanical Garden 

126-Call of the King 

127-Living Our Stories 

128-Pope Francis 

129-Saint Francis 


131-The Way of Peace  

132-Danube Reflections  

133-Want Happiness? 

134-Our Uncertain Certainties 

135-Corita Kent 



138-Daniel Berrigan 





Link to all past issues     


What Do You Collect?
Sorting through the boxes in his attic, writer Roger Rosenblatt concludes that he has "a collection of sorrows and rages."
For some twenty years Rosenblatt reported on deadly conflicts, from Belfast to Beirut, from Rwanda to Cambodia. His effort to reorganize his files produced a sad and moving reflection in the October issue of The Atlantic. In his attic, Rosenblatt rediscovered photos, audiotapes, notepads, and drawings by children he met in refugee camps.  With memory thus triggered, Rosenblatt assembles touching vignettes of the people he met, all adding up the disturbing conclusion expressed in his title: "The World is a Thriving Slaughterhouse."
What do you collect?
After reading Rosenblatt's essay, my mind somehow wandered to the Maryhill Museum. Located in rural isolation in eastern Washington, the mansion built by early 20th-century entrepreneur Samuel Hill houses a collection that is truly eclectic: Native American artifacts from the region, sculptures by the French master Auguste Rodin, chess sets from myriad cultures around the world, and memorabilia from Queen Marie of Romania (a friend of Hill's.)
What do you collect?
We all have our attics, those of us who have lived more than a China from Air Force One decade or two. We all have our attics - physical or mental - where the traces of our lives are stored. Some of us collect intentionally: pocket knives or porcelain or postage stamps. (I once knew a woman who collected toilet paper from the various countries where she travelled!) All of us collect by chance: wounds and grievances, joys and grandeur. I know one man whose whole life seems to be a collection of grudges.
What do you collect? There certainly is value in recalling the sorrows and rages of the world. And yes, healing often comes by recalling, and addressing, our spiritual and emotional wounds. Still, the advice of scripture is sound: "And now, my friends, all that is true, all that is noble, all that is just and pure, all that is lovable and attractive, whatever is excellent and admirable - fill your thoughts with these things" (Phil. 4:8 [REB]).
 - Bill

Rocks and Memories
       I inherited Aunt Pat's rock collection. There is a rock from every memorable place she visited in her lifetime, from Scotland to China shores, from sacred to secular shrines. I listened to the animated travel story attached to each stone. In the 20 years since those stories have gone silent, I still hold dear the touchstones of joy in her vibrant life.
       We all have collections of some genre. As I began to write my memoir, I noticed a collection of memories I guess I could put into a 'basket of notables'. There were evenings with Willie Nelson, George Jones, Don Williams, Michael Martin Murphy, Ray Price, Elvis Presley, and Joan Baez. In those days - Willie Nelson had a repertoire of only 4 songs - the performers in small-town honkytonks would come and sit at the table with us during breaks. Up close and personal. There was no such thing as a VIP Backstage Pass. We all just milled around together.
       When I look back at the crazy things I did 'in the day' I also notice a collection of beautiful spiritual retreats I have attended. Hopefully they all balance out. The Rule of Benedict and writings of all the Spiritual Masters encourage balance. Work, love, play, and prayer are all spokes in the wheel of balance.
                                                      --by Jan

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Sincerely,  Bill Howden & Jan Davis
Soul Windows Ministries