Creation Begins with Separation

Creation Begins with Separation
by Carl Josehart

It’s my least favorite part of vacation – perhaps you have faced it as well. You return from a vacation relaxed and in a good mood and one of the first things you face is a giant pile of unsorted mail – a big, chaotic pile that can seem overwhelming to face. If you are anything like me – my natural instinct is to bring order to the chaos.

I start placing the mail into piles. Bills go into one pile so that I will later take to my home office to be paid, I put catalogues and magazines into another pile that I will later take to the den so I can enjoy them during leisure time, personal correspondence and invitations go into another pile and of course – the ever present junk mail – is separated out to go into the recycling. As I sort through the pile and organize it into categories I find that a sense of order begins to emerge from the chaos – I begin to have a sense of what is urgent or not, what is for leisure or pleasure and what is not, what requires action and so on.

In Genesis, the bible describes the creation story in much the same way. We read that in the beginning, “the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep…” From chaos God begins the process of sorting and organizing the elements of creation. God creates heaven and earth – separating creator from created. Then God begins organizing the newly created world. Heaven is separated from earth, light from darkness, day from night, the firmament and the seas, dry land and waters. Next we begin to see the differences within aspects of creation. For example certain parts of our world are set into a regular course – such as the sun and the moon moving in a fixed pattern of day and night, the regularity of the seasons. As creation continues we see the emergence of aspects of creation that can move as they please – animals and human beings. Finally there is the distinction between humans – who have free will – and all other living creatures.

Just as God makes order out of chaos by sorting and separating the different aspects of creation – human beings have given the same power to make order out of our chaotic world.

One of the ways that we create meaning is to create separate times and places for different uses. For example, objects take on special meaning – become sacred – when we separate them from all others and use them only for special purposes. One of my childhood friends came from an extended family that had created their own unique tradition. Each Passover the family who had the youngest child was sent a glass wine pitcher and small drinking glass to use at their Seder. The pitcher and glass had belonged to my friend’s great-grandmother and had been originally purchased for 25 cents – to look at them the objects themselves had no distinguishing characteristics – no intrinsic value. This pitcher and drinking glass became a cherished heirloom because, over several generations, they were separated from all other objects and came to represent the welcoming of a new life into the family and into Jewish life.

Candlesticks transform into Shabbas candlesticks if we separate them from the other candlesticks we may own and use them only to light Shabbat and Festival lights. Through this process we begin to associate them with special times and their presence helps to create a mood. Special foods can take on special meaning when we separate them from others and only use them in certain circumstances –for example matzah on Passover, apples and honey at Rosh Hashanah, or latkes on Hanukkah.

In much the same way, places become special when we set them aside for special purposes. For example a building becomes a place of worship –when we set it aside and use it as a place of prayer, learning, teaching, and gathering to celebrate with member of our faith community.

In Genesis we witness the step-by-step process of God transforming chaos into a beautifully organized world that has day and night, seasons, sea, land and vegetation that supports life. Perhaps as humans we have the opportunity to create meaning in our often busy and chaotic lives by separating certain times and places from all others. If we set aside special time with the ones we love and protect it from all other intrusions we create the equivalent of “sacred” spaces in the midst of our ordinary routine.


What Makes A Moment
by Carl Josehart

Unmarked by daily use
the accouterments of daily
life become wrapped in charm
and disappear amid the
profound and pleasing

Unreachable by troubles past
so it seems
new trouble
wrapped in adventure
marks the journey
will spice up the retelling

A single seagull
sings out his song
and quickly flies to find
where friends have gone


 

I Remember Wanda

 

Trigger warning: language, racial slur


I Remember Wanda
by Carl Josehart

I remember Wanda
she’s the one who thought she was a turtle
and demanded we call her,
“Turtle”

I met Wanda when I worked at a school for
cast off children with
garbage dump lives
refuse of society

clutching her purse,
one day,
she screamed at me across
miles of misunderstanding
and missed opportunities

“Suck my cock!”
and then called me a,
“white chocolate nigger”

we used to collect
words
hurtled at us like
harpoons
the only way the
children had to
teach us about their
pain

we’d save them and
play with them
pretending we didn’t
feel the sting of these
well targeted missiles

I guess if I lived in her world
I’d be a turtle too
a hard strong shell to
protect me when
words fall like rain
and soak the soul
in silent suffering and pain

Wanda…I remember


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Non-Dairy Dreamy Delight

Non-Dairy Dreamy Delight
by Carl Josehart

Lactose free!
the invitation read
and I wondered where in the hell Lactose was
and whether the Lactosians
were fighting for their freedom
from and oppressive government
that infringed on their personal liberties

Free Lactose!
I took up the chant
wanting to be
politically correct
I made up banners
and flyers
led protest marches
and even started to collect money
to help resettle refugees from Lactose

Lactose free!
a dream come true
a land flowing with
soy-milk and honey
“Better-Than Cream Cheese”
in every market
and Norman Rockwell Thanksgivings
minus the butter in the mashed potatoes
in every home
Power to the People – Free Lactose!


The call for freedom is catching on – now Gluten is seeking freedom as well!

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving
by Carl Josehart

For these things I give thanks
Food in abundance
A safe place to stay
Family and friends who surround me with love
And a sense of order and caring, and a belief in God, in the heavens above

For these things I pray
Food in abundance – for those who are hungry
A safe and warm place to stay – for those who are out in the cold
Family and friends – for those who are without love
And a sense of order and caring, and a belief in God, in the heavens above

For all these things were given to the people of the earth
Along with laughter and gaiety, and mirth
With all that was given – the knowledge of good and evil was taken
But, it seems, the responsibility that accompanies that power has been forsaken
We have forsaken family and friends, and those who need us to surround them with love
Along with a sense of order and caring, and a belief in God, in the heavens above


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Wings of Love

Wings of Love
by Carl Josehart

Without maps to guide us
through the oft unchartered paths of life
we met on wings of love
before our hearts had learned to fly

exhilarated by the thrill of flight
we soared too near the sun
waxen wings melting
falling from heaven
mortal again to walk on the earth

I often think of you
and I
soaring through time and space
like gods
like me
together
Always


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Sometimes

Sometimes
by Carl Josehart

Sometimes he calls to me sweetly in the middle of the night
His voice still gently echoing as I greet the morning light
Sometimes he cries for me bitterly clutches me and holds me tight
Sometimes I wish for him eagerly – trying to summon him with all my might

Sometimes I come to him needing his love, his touch, his kiss
When he accepts me, and loves me, it seems like perfect bliss
Sometimes he turns away from me angrily with a hiss
Sometimes I imagine him holding me – trying to make up for the caress I want and miss

Sometimes he storms up to me and boldly takes my hand
And leads me off, curious about what mischief he may have planned
Sometimes it will be to the beach to run barefoot in the sand
Sometimes to listen to music played by his favorite band

Sometimes I find him sitting quietly alone
Our lying in bed, crying, staring at the phone
Sometimes I can comfort him with my touch and reassuring words spoken in quiet tones
Sometimes the best I can do is hold him and try to make his pain my own

Sometimes we go gently into the stillness of the night
Often we rest easily til we are woken by the coming of morning’s light
Sometimes we fear the dying, lie awake, and hold each other tight
Sometimes we fear from the our weakness, and other times, from our might


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Memories

Memories
by Carl Josehart

Memories of the future make their way slowly into my mind
Repetitious images of my life in times yet to come
I am moving back and forth through space and time
Not knowing how to find my way to them or how to return to where I’m from

Suspended, now am I, unable to find roost – just to fly
Knowing in my dreams where I am meant to be
Remembering failures and how hard it was to try
Comforted, in those times, by what I told myself the future had for me

Muddled and confused, I wonder what is real and what a dream
Unable to separate for myself fantasy from fact
I look for a source of knowledge to tell me what it means
Hoping I will find it while my life is still intact

But reality seems to change as I move from place to place
Each embracing me for the moment – then turning it fades away
Is reality so fragile that it shatters when I avert my face?
Or, is it that I haven’t learned to hold it firmly, and make it want to stay

Wishes so old have become memories
The future so long awaited is now the past
Dreams too weak to live must now be grieved
The present is all that is left for me – I hope I can make it last


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