Sunday, April 14, 2019

THE BLUE LAUNDRY BAG - A REFLECTION by JOANNE M. PALMISANO

In my family, the rite of passage for a college age child was to receive a laundry bag from my Mom before one went off to college.  My mom always was one for addressing needs and having a laundry bag was a priority.  In my case, she talked constantly about needing a laundry bag prior to starting college. It was a “must have” item.  Being me, I just listened to her.  Mom bought a blue laundry bag for me.

I really liked my laundry bag which was made of blue cloth with a drawstring. It was durable, easy to use and store.  My trusty laundry bag held up for thirty years.  As I matured, the bag became more than a holder of dirty and clean clothes, it became an all-purpose bag.  It carried Christmas and birthday presents.  It carted housewares, party supplies and various miscellaneous items.  I always remembered who gave me my laundry bag along with love and care attached to it

As each of the two grandchildren went off to college, the importance of a laundry bag arose, well for me.  I did not have to worry about them buying one for themselves because it did not appear to be on their list of “needed” items.  Memories flooded me about my bag.  My approach was different than my Mom’s.  I waited until packing time to give it to each one of them.  Each was given a different color.  One was gray and the other a marble white and green.  Of course, they could have rejected it, but did not.  Yes, they are using their laundry bag.

During this process, it hit me that this simple item meant more to me.  Besides being a tradition, it became a symbol of love and care.  This triggered the idea of passing on other things, such as, values and life skills.  Like my parents had prepared me for the next phase of life, I hoped that my husband and I were doing the same for the grandchildren.  Hopefully, when they see and use the laundry bag, they will be reminded of home along with the love and care attached to it.


THE SEA SHELL COLLECTORS - A REFLECTION by JOANNE M. PALMISANO


Although it has been twenty years, I still remember the incident when ten women were walking on Captiva Island, Florida for about one hour. It was a short stop over until we left for the airport.  We all dashed out of the rental car onto the beach and scattered in the same basic area in search of sea shells.

I searched alone.  Finding small scalloped shape shells with at least one horizontal maroon stripe on the shell, I collected as many as I could.  Once reuniting with the others, I was amazed at all the different types of shells each one of us had gathered.  No one collected the same shell.  Each of us focused on one particular shape and size. I could not get over this.  Although I made a comment about it, we were in a rush so I do not know the reaction of the others.

I had never been on a beach with so many shells of so many varieties. Maybe I was, but never noticed it.  The beauty of nature and God’s creation was right in front of me and I noticed it. I was so lucky to have been a part of that moment. I talked about the sea shell collectors on Captiva Island for months, showing everyone I could my shells.  In my excitement to share the experience, I gave a few shells away.

In retrospect, the shells represented us, all different and unique. Although we were celebrating being forty years old, most of us never met prior to the trip. It was just a “friend connection’ based on our birth year.  We all enjoyed the trip to Sanibel Island for a long weekend with Captiva Island being a side trip. We all respected each other and enjoyed each other company. More importantly, we became sea shell collectors together.

PRACTICE - A REFLECTION by JOANNE M. PALMISANO


It was a crisp clear blue sky morning about fifteen years ago.  As I approached the church stairs, images of going to basketball practice invaded me.  A huge smile overcame me since my favorite memories of practice occurred here at this same parish.  The gym was across the parking lot from the church.  Attending daily Mass became my new practice court. A journal and prayer book replaced the basketball. With God as my coach and the community as my teammates, I prepared for the game of daily life.

Greeting friends, entering into prayer, joining in the Mass, hearing the word of God, seeing the consecration of the host, hearing Eucharist prayers, receiving the Eucharist, receiving the priest’s blessing, alone prayer time and finally talking with various friends was the “practice” routine.  Maybe, I would arrive early before Mass to recite the Rosary or stay later on Wednesdays to recite the Divine Mercy Chaplet. 

Participating in daily Mass prepared me for the upcoming day.  This happy time and place transformed me.  A peace overcame me.  By the time I left the church, I was ready for the day. In addition, I developed strong relationships at both parishes were I attended daily Mass. I maintain those friendships through attendance at Sunday Mass, church events, phone calls, cards, dinner dates and retreats.

I no longer attend daily morning Mass routinely.  Being discussed with God, who fully understands, I have a shorter daily routine of “practice” with daily praying to God through journaling and devotions at home or at work.  Depending on my daily schedule, I tend to switch up “practice” with adoration, and Mass.

Although my daily “practice schedule” has changed, God’s grace and coaching stays with me through my daily living.


Note from Joanne: "Since 2004, this reflection stayed in the writer’s heart.  With renewed writing, this finally popped out."