Reflection Masthead
Issue 163 - Thanksgiving Joy - November 2017

We spent Thanksgiving week at our bay-front cottage 
just outside of Rockport, Texas.  As fate would have it, 
Thanksgiving weekend was exactly three months after Hurricane Harvey 
made landfall at Rockport, with winds of 130 miles per hour.
We share our thoughts on Thanksgiving, after disaster.  

+ Reminder to register for Pilgrimage to Spain by Dec 15 to avoid additional fees   
Celebrating "Rockport Strong"
The devastation is staggering.  Although more than two million cubic yards of debris has already been picked up, there are still piles along many roadways. There are still places where you can look
Damaged house
right inside destroyed homes, as in this photo, taken last week. Along the Rockport waterfront, an older motel's sign proudly proclaims, "Newly Remodeled."  Indeed - from every room, any guests would now have an open view of the stars at night! Many businesses remain closed; some that are open are operating out of trailers or other temporary locations.
We are extremely thankful that our cottage suffered only moderate damage. We are even more thankful to see the spirit of the community. "Rockport Strong" signs and T-shirts are everywhere. On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, several benefactors organized a Community Day of Thanks. Local pastors prayed. Bands played. Volunteers served a free Thanksgiving meal to 1,000 people. Everyone was welcome: residents, property owners, volunteers, FEMA workers, contractors working on demolition or reconstruction. As one of the speakers said, we gathered not to remember how much has been lost, but to celebrate how much has been done in just 90 days.
Volunteer Apron
We have seen it ourselves: Government cleanup efforts complemented by NGOs. Church groups volunteering. Local government doing a great job of sharing information, even while they are operating out of temporary quarters. Neighbors helping neighbors. The apron worn by many volunteers at the Community Day of Thanks said it well: "We are thankful for our community. Each of you are green shoots from the mighty oaks."
Thanks be to God.
       --by Bill
Thanksgiving Happy Place
       I think I have never eaten a Thanksgiving dinner with a lump in my throat. Tears of gratitude and some other indistinguishable emotions filled my heart. A satisfying meal took second place to a soul satisfying gift of gratitude.
       The community-sponsored Thanksgiving celebration under the circus-size blue and white striped tent began with praise music from one of the local churches, was followed by an expression of gratitude and a brief prayer. Then everyone received a goodie bag of Whataburger coupons, fruit, snack bars and smile-making gifts like Whataburger sunglasses and HEB treats. Bill Miller served the traditional meal: turkey, dressing, green beans plate with all the trimmings - free for anyone. People relaxed around the tables telling their stories of survival during and after the storm.
Paper Tablecloth
       The gifts that were overwhelming, that brought silent tears and throat lumps, were the expressions of kindness, generosity, and joy. I'll never forget Cindy's smile although I know I'll likely never see her again. She and all of the many volunteers showed genuine care for each person there. Care and joy. The scene reminded me of the story of an earlier Sunday gospel describing the gifts of talents. The servants who were given and used well the gifts of talents were invited to "Come, share your master's joy." (Matt 25:14-30) From the gospel choir giving praise to "the Lord who brought us out of chaos" to the pervasive peace filling the tent, this Thanksgiving was a happy place, even for the people what had no home to go to for Thanksgiving. People sharing the Master's joy.         --by Jan

Shoes of the Pilgrim Ignatius
For centuries, people of faith of have followed the paths of spiritual reflection laid out by Ignatius of Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises
We invite you now to join us  in a pilgrimage of faith, following the footsteps of St. Ignatius in Spain, 
May 9-17, 2018.
To learn more, click here 
and then click on Event Announcement for full details. 
Register by Dec. 15 for best price! 

Soul Windows Logo
Recent Issues

* All text and images are protected by copyright  (c) 2017

Please share Reflection freely by forwarding any issue (click "Forward to a Friend" below), but remember to respect copyright laws by not altering, copying, or reproducing Reflection, whole or in part, without written permission.
Copyright (c) 2017 Soul Windows Ministries


Bill Howden and Jan Davis
Soul Windows Ministries



Join Our Mailing List