Fatherly Advice

Dear Members & Friends,

For Father’s Day, we’d like to present a selection of poetry from our friend Christine Rodgers. May you find inspiration and deep truth within her words, reminiscent of the best fatherly advice.

Psalm for this Day

Let astonishment
seize you.  Let
the smallest green
weed startle you
with its fierce
to rise.  Let the
sun that you take
so for granted
shake your soul
until it is
shattered – and
now, with all
your soul wide
open – let
everything in.

Begin with Rage

Begin with rage.
It is the obvious
and most

We are all ticking
it would seem
and we will
either deactivate

ourselves or explode.
How do we disarm
ourselves then?
Try climbing into

the boat of solitude
and floating for a
while.  Let the sky
bend over you

in her huge blue
skirt and allow your
head to fall quiet
in her great wide

lap and be still.
So still.  Only still.
Until mercy rises
up from the water

like a great gleaming
fish – her scales
shimmering in the
autumn sun.

And at last I believe
peace will come.
She will sit on the
edge of your boat

in her rich green dress
and she will help you
on your way.  She will
help you stay the course.

After James Torrens, S.J.

Root yourself in hard.
Learn from the trees
wherever you go.
Their stability – their
devotion to stillness.
The way they move
with whatever comes –
but maintain their
essence.  Watch them
flower and then let go –
releasing the most
beautiful part of
themselves – without
a second thought.
Releasing.  Breathing.
Shining out.  But
quietly – no fanfare.
They simply hold
the light in their arms
with no hesitation.
They are not afraid
of burning – they are
willing to hold all of
the Light.

After Dorothy Walters

Forget everything you know
and open.

Stop the endless complaint
around what isn’t working
and get to work.  Put

your own hand to the
spade – to the plough –
hold the pen in your

hand – and get to work.
You don’t know how
this will end.  Some

bright horizon you
can barely see shimmers
quietly in the distance.

If you open as wide
as you possibly can –
wider still – you will

make room for it inside.
If you make enough space –
you cannot help but shine.

What I Have Learned So Far
(After Mary Oliver)

Kindness is never a waste of time.
Breathing is essential.
Deeply.  Fully. Completely.

Compassion is seeing what is there
after you breathe.

Prayer is important – but it has a
million different shapes.
To study one thing in all its intricacy
is a profound prayer.

Courage.  Just the word itself is bracing.
Courage.  So necessary.  So important
to cultivate.  So elusive when we find
ourselves discouraged.

Patience.  Ah. Perhaps that brings us
back to the breath.  The place of
stillness which escapes us when we
are constantly on the run.

To move slowly.  To move slowly.

Love is born from this.  From kindness –
from breath – from compassion – from
prayer – from courage – from patience.

From this – Love is born.

Christine Rodgers is an actor and poet living in San Francisco. Her poetry has appeared in America, National Catholic Reporter, Fellowship, Radical Grace and on a variety of websites. She has published three collections of poetry, Into the Great Green Heart of God, Upon a Luminous Night and Embracing the Sacred Journey. Christine facilitates a poetry circle at The Healing Well in the Tenderloin and regularly serves as a guest preacher at the Swedenborgian Church. She is an advocate for the full expression of women in the Catholic tradition. More information at www.greatgreenheart.com