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Anything [But] Ordinary (the “missing” Sunday post) February 19, 2023

Posted by ajoyfulpractice in "Impossible" People, Books, Changing Perspectives, Faith, Healing Stories, Hope, Lent, Life, Loss, Music, One Hoop, Pain, Religion, Suffering, Tragedy, Yoga.
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Many blessings to those observing this Day of Remembrance and to anyone preparing for Lent. Peace and ease to all during this “Season of Non-violence” and all other seasons!

This is the “missing” post for Sunday, February 19th You can request a related recording via a comment below or (for a slightly faster reply) you can email me at myra (at) ajoyfulpractice.com.

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“‘They were concentration camps. They called it relocation, but they put them in concentration camps, and I was against it. We were in a period of emergency, but it was still the wrong thing to do. It was one place where I never went along with Roosevelt. He never should have allowed it.’

Nobody ever suggested that Americans of German descent or Americans of Italian descent be put in concentration camps, be relocated.

‘Well, it may have been suggested, but it didn’t get very far.’”

– Harry S. Truman, quoted from “The Cause and Cure of Hysteria” in Plain Speaking: An Oral Biography of Harry S. Truman by Merle Miller (italicized text is spoken by interviewer)

For some people, there is nothing special about today.

I mean, every day is special; but, for something this day is just another date on the calendar.

Oh, sure, there might be a history special about the fact that President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, today in 1942, thereby authorizing the military to “[protect] against espionage and against sabotage to national-defense material, national-defense premises, and national-defense utilities” by excluding certain individuals from any so-called “military areas.” Eventually, these military areas would cover about 1/3 of the country and those excluded would be forcibly re-located, incarcerated, and/or deported. This order was issued during World War II and, initially, it was applied (in conjunction with an 18th century sedition act) to people who had – or were believed to have had – German or Italian ancestry. Ultimately, however, it would mostly be applied to Japanese Americans and/or people who were perceived as having Japanese ancestry.

Just to be clear, military officials could and did apply the order to anyone, regardless of their nationality – and they did so until March 1946. They made no distinction between Issei (“first generation”) immigrants who were, at the time, ineligible for U.S. citizenship or Nisei (“second generation”), who were American-born citizens. Neither did they make any distinction between those individuals and Sansei (“third generation”), who were also American-born citizens. In fact, two-thirds of the hundreds of thousands who were incarcerated were actually American citizens – and none were ever found guilty of espionage or sabotage. 

Officially, today is a Day of Remembrance (DOR, Japanese: 追憶の日, Tsuioku no Hi), which honors the 111,000 – 121,000 Japanese Americans were forced out of their homes, businesses, and schools. Remembrance events have been observed in Washington state and Oregon, as far back 1978 and 1979, respectively. While it is not a national holiday, it is a day that has been recognized and acknowledged by some U. S. Presidents.

Sadly, like so many things that are related to past mistakes in United States history, most people will not remember this day as anything special.

Do you suppose it was because Americans of Japanese descent looked different?

‘It may have been. But the reason it happened was just the same as what we’ve been talking about. People out on the West Coast got scared, and they panicked, and they decided to get rid of the Japanese-Americans. That’s how it happened,

‘That’s what I’ve been telling you. A leader, what a leader has to do is to stop the panic. I’ve told you a time or two before, I guess; a leader has to lead, or otherwise he has no business in politics. At least that’s the way I’ve always looked at it.

What you have to understand is that most people in this country are men and women of common sense, and when somebody gets too far out of line, like that McCarthy fellow, the people take charge and put him out of business.’”

– Harry S. Truman, quoted from “The Cause and Cure of Hysteria” in Plain Speaking: An Oral Biography of Harry S. Truman by Merle Miller (italicized text is spoken by interviewer)

On a slightly different note, today is special because my friend and former colleague Lauren Anderson was born today in 1965, which I note here because she became the first African American woman named as a principal dancer of a major classical ballet company in the United States (profile to come). Similarly, there may be a scholar or feminist on social media who mentions that the publication of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, today in 1963, kicked-off a second-wave of feminism in the United States. There may even be a scientist or two on Twitter who mentions that Nicolaus Copernicus was born today in 1473, and that the Renaissance polymath, mathematician, astronomer, and Catholic canon is credited with originating the heliocentric theory that the Sun (not the Earth) is the center of the Universe. (Although, it is interesting to note that others, outside of the Western world, had previously proposed such ideas and built models accordingly.)

Still, most people won’t really get into any of that, just like most people in the United States won’t realize that, according to a traditional Chinese solar calendar, today marks the beginning of “Rain Water” (雨水, pinyin: Yǔ shuǐ), the second solar term of the year. There will be some people who celebrate a little. Some parents may seek godparents for their children and some son-in-laws may give gifts to the parents of their spouses. But, by and large, this will be like the beginning of any other month on any other calendar; because for most there is nothing extra special about today.

It’s just an ordinary… regular Sunday.

A variation of the following was previously posted in 2021. Some additional context has been added.

“Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.”

– The Gospel According to St. Luke (18:31, NIV)

For some Western Christians, the fact that today is a “Regular” or “Ordinary” day means it is outside specifically designated periods of liturgy. For some, today is specifically referenced as Quinquagesima, as it is 50 days before Easter (including the Sundays, which are excluded when counting the 40 Days of Lent). For others, within Western Christian traditions, today is Shrove Sunday (which, in some traditions is also Transfiguration Sunday). Still others, specifically some Catholics who use the Latin Psalters, today is Estomihi, which comes from the opening lines of many services on this day: “Inclina ad me aurem tuam, accelera ut eruas me. Esto mihi in Deum protectorem: et in domum refugii, ut salvum me facias.” (“Incline your ear to me. Hasten to rescue me. Be for me a protector God and a house of refuge, so as to accomplish my salvation.”)

Keep in mind that these are all “moveable feasts,” meaning their dates on the secular calendar change depending on the date of Easter each year. Also keep in mind that the Western and Eastern Churches have different calendars. So, these last days of Shrovetide (which includes Shrove Monday and Shrove Tuesday) will be observed next week by some in the Eastern Christian traditions – which makes today Sexagesima in Orthodox traditions.

Just as people start preparations for the Lenten season at different times, people have different ways of getting ready. Carnival and Mardi Gras celebrations are opportunities for people to indulge in the things they plan to give up, as the Lenten season is a period of fasting and repentance in preparation for Easter. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, especially in Slavic countries, the last week before Lent (which starts tomorrow on the Eastern calendar) is known Maslenitsa (Belarusian: Масленіца, Russian: Мaсленица, Rusyn: Пущаня, Ukrainian: Маслянаas) or Butter Lady, Butter Week, Crepe week, or Cheesefare Week, making the last Sunday before Lent (which this year will be February 26th on the Eastern calendar) Cheesefare Sunday.

Rather than focusing on indulging, however, some Christians designate the three weeks before Lent as Shrovetide. Shrove comes from the word “shrive,” meaning “to absolve” and, for Christians who are focused on “shriving,” Shrovetide is a period of self-examination, repentance, and amendments of sins. In the Orthodox traditions, Shrove Sunday (next Sunday) is also known as “Forgiveness Sunday,” which includes “Forgiveness Vespers.” By emphasizing forgiveness of sins and transgressions, as well as fasting, as a foundation for beginning the Great Lent, people believe that they will be better able to focus on the spiritual aspects of life with a pure heart.

“As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.”

– The Gospel According to St. Luke (9:29 – 31, NIV)

Sunday’s playlist is available on YouTube and Spotify. [Look for “Quinquagesima 2022”]

### Inspiration ###


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