My Own Private Unorthodox Lent, Day 2


On Ash Wednesday, I received a letter from Casa de Clara, the Catholic Worker House in San Jose. In it, the letter connected Executive Order 9066, the Japanese Internment order, with recent events. Which is regrettably easy to do.
The letter also mentioned that on Ash Wednesday, when Catholics receive the ash on their foreheads, they also receive the words, “Repent and believe the Good News.” That was news to me. I’d forgotten or never known that Ash Wednesday was connected to repentance. But a point to ponder.
Near the end, came a Dr. King quote, “a time comes when silence is betrayal,” which I found too a propos. Earlier in the day, in an open space with numerous half-enclosed desks, a pal whose politics are more conservative than mine mentioned Trump’s speech. Though he hadn’t voted for Trump, he liked the speech and criticized Democrats for remaining seated while a Navy Seal’s widow was being honored. He has never been a ranter, and I wanted to have a respectful conversation.
I said maybe they were remembering Trump’s treatment of the parents of a Muslim soldier who had died. I mentioned how polarized the country is and how hard to hear another point of view, but offered that the left, too, could use a better tone. We parted on cordial terms, and I walked to the kitchen passing an African-American colleague and a Japanese-American colleague. I wondered: if they overheard me, would they have considered me an ally? Had I been so eager to be nice and avoid conflict that I didn’t say my truth clearly?
I wished I’d responded, not heatedly, but openly, to one point: “Why can’t they give him a chance?” To do what? Is what I wish I’d replied. When his actions harm people, and choices for the Dept. of Education and Dept. of Labor, in particular are people who oppose the mission of their posts? When I thought of repentance, that failure stabbed me. I followed up with an email to my pal in which I mentioned Trump’s Cabinet choices in particular and left no question which side I was on, while never ranting. Of course, my colleagues would have no way of knowing I did that.
P. S. My wonderful activist friend, Kari, mentioned the importance of being “vocal and visible.” In some ways, I have been, but I commit to being more so.
So that’s the repentance side for me.

8 thoughts on “My Own Private Unorthodox Lent, Day 2

  1. Thank you, Lita. I’m Catholic and was challenged to think of what to give up for Lent this year. It obviously won’t be meat. I fell victim to the temptation of a street cart carne asada burrito when walking out of church Weds. with ashes on my head!
    Give up my Midwestern tendency not to rock the boat, in the service of justice? That’s going to be tough! Please pray for me as I pray for you <3

  2. Oh, I so hear you about both things, Juanita! The carne asada and also the Midwestern aversion to boat rocking. Thank you. You will surely be in my unorthodox prayers and thank you for yours. 🙂

  3. Both Snopes and Polifact? have found the claim of Democrats remaining sitting as false. (More fake news.)
    I really applaud your willingness to dialogue with others.

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