Miss You While You’re Here

Lately I’ve been thinking about
All the moments that we missed
When we’re younger we think we have plenty of time
And don’t think about stuff like this

We put so much off until later
But what if later never comes?
All tomorrows repeats of yesterdays
The future setting like the sun

I’m not ready yet to miss you
When I know that you’re right here
There’s so much I wanted to give you
Before my chances disappeared

Now it hurts that we talk almost everyday
And yet we never talk at all
Or that I battle with all these tempting thoughts
Not to answer when you call

Of course I want to be here for you
But it seems this is always where we’ve been
You telling me about how hard it is
While I listen on the other end

I look back and feel like a failure
I wish I could’ve spared you from some pain
But the best I can do is be a witness
And pray for something else to change

I still have hope that you’ll get better
That perfect love will cast out fear
But for now I’ll be grateful for what we have
Because I don’t want to miss you while you’re here
© Copyright 2020 Pedro S. Silva II

I wrote this poem as I started to think about how many conversations I have with my mom are about how to make it from month to month. We talk everyday. Sometimes multiple times a day. But rarely are our conversations about thing that I would like us to talk about. Because of all of the stress over the past few years, there has been a strain on the relationship. I’ll be honest and say that often I am acting like I am her parent rather than the other way around. I want her to be safe and make decisions for her well-being. I know how hard she tried to be whatever and whoever she felt she needed to be to make sure we survived growing up. That took a toll on her. And I know that she had huge dreams–most of which never got fulfilled. This is a wound in her heart.

She always told me that she wanted to leave my brothers and I with a legacy. What she meant was money. That hasn’t happened and it saddens her. She apologizes for not being in a better financial situation and asks me to believe in her that she can still pull it off. I want to believe, but… And now that I am witnessing her forgetting so much and yet still holding out hope for a miracle or for her “ship to come in” as she says, I feel a twinge of regret.  I ask myself, “If I knew we were going to end up here anyway, what would I have done differently?”

At first, I told myself I would’ve stayed in the military so that I would have my retirement right now and I could be working another job to provide for her. But then I look at my wife and kids and know that I had to take the course I did.  I then think that I should’ve chosen a more lucrative profession than being a pastor. But then, I was having a conversation with a guest at the church who is experiencing homelessness at the church and watching members of the congregation–to include children serving food and sitting with our homeless neighbors and I thought, “I am glad to be in this moment.” And then I thought, well maybe I was called to be a pastor for a season, but now that my mom needs me, I need to move on and do something else because my responsibilities demand it. And then I prayed and I felt the spirit moving me to be honest about how hard this is and to tell my friends. And so I did. And they stepped in and blessed my family and gave me room to breathe so I could figure out how to make the next best move for my mom. They showed me the truth of the teaching that says, “[God’s] strength is made perfect in our weakness.”

And so then in that space, I asked God what I could do differently for my mom. And in my soul’s language I heard, “Don’t miss her while she is still here. Because that’s what you’ve been doing. If you want to have different conversations with her, change the subject. Talk about the things that you wish you could talk to her about. If she misses it and repeats something else she just said, tell her you love her. Tell her your dreams and maybe she’ll get joy in knowing that she is a part of them. Have an unreasonable belief in miracles because you never know what might happen. And don’t forget, you are not in this alone.”

So if you are reading this, what my soul spoke into my life, I speak into yours. There are so many things in life that can distract us from the moments we are in–something to tempt us to forget that there is always the possibility of great beauty around the corner. In my weakness, I found strength in hitting my limits and reaching out. My hope is that in sharing what I am learning, it is blessing you all too.

With true love,

Pedro

A Friend In Need

They say a friend in need is a friend indeed
Or is it a friend in deed
Meaning a friend is one who acts as one
When another friend’s in need

Or maybe it’s the former one
We’re friends when we’re in want
But otherwise we give no others thought
Just to make it blunt

But perhaps it is more gray than that
Which makes it difficult to name
Because where self-sufficiency is idolized
To be in need is to be shamed

It’s really hard to put my finger on
As I examine my condition
When I’m aware enough to know I should ask for help
But won’t fully give myself permission

On one side, it’s because I don’t want help
I have learned so much from all my failing
But on the other side, I know that there’s sufficient grace
For those of us prone to self-assailing

Furthermore when I’m on the giving end
I always do what I can do
But when I’m on the receiving end
I do my best to just push through

But presently I am torn
This uphill battle seems unending
I could keep on trying to handle this
But in reality I’m pretending

I’ve always been good at holding burdens
But now my burdens are holding me
As I consider that I’m just a request away
From a space that feels more free

Well, if anything, there’s a lesson
These constraints I feel won’t last
And it matters little if I hear “yes” or “no”
Things will get better because I asked

© Copyright 2020 Pedro S. Silva II

I wrote this poem after wrestling with my thoughts about whether or not I should share a fundraiser I created for my mother to help ease some of the financial impact of her pending move.  This season has been really tender for me for a lot of reasons. Besides watching my mother succumb to the effects of a lifetime of stress and anxiety, trying to keep this pressure to myself has taken its toll on me and my family, both emotionally and financially. But it’s not all bad. This also has been a very creative season for me as I’ve tried to make sense of my own anxieties in light of my faith that when we are open, there is a solution to every concern. I’ve written poems that I never would’ve been able to write were I not translating what at times felt like overwhelming emotion. I completed a rap that I’m really proud of despite the fact that it has not yet brought in any of the money I’d naively thought it would. And in my social justice and community building work, knowing that I am personally impacted by so much of the challenges that we’re trying to ameliorate, has shaped my preaching and public speaking in a way that perhaps it would not if my family was more shielded. And finally, by putting this out here, I feel that it is on the path of healing the ill effects of the negative type of pride. And so here we are.

If you are reading this, I am asking you to consider contributing to this fund. All of the proceeds go to helping my mom transition to living with my brother until we can come up with a more sustainable solution. Thanks for considering this. No pressure and no judgment if you are not interested. I am just grateful that I received the courage to ask. The link to contribute is below.

http://www.plumfund.com/financial-hardship/lost-in-transition

I Always Feel Like Crying

I always feel like crying
But it doesn’t mean I’m sad
It means I’m paying attention
To the issues that we have

In my soul I see a vision
Oneness is our Way
But in my body I feel division
As I watch morality decay

I have prayed and prayed for comfort
But it seems it’s nowhere near
Until I accept that I can’t save this world
And release my brokenness with tears

I wish that I was stronger
But my weakness keeps me humble
I would love to never make mistakes
But I was put on earth to stumble

I see heaven’s door wide open
I call on all I see to enter
But I’m afraid that if I go in first
I’ll forget what I remember

I know that’s backward logic
But they say the first’s the last
So when I came here from the future
It was to finish off my past

I hope that I’m not losing you
By speaking in ways that are not clear
I just had to get this off my chest
In case I’m drowned out by my tears

© Copyright 2020 Pedro S. Silva II

 

Waking Up to You

Waking up to You is the why of my life
You are the Dream that stops my dreaming
You tell the Story of what many fear to know
And give every Word its truest meaning

You call to me to my deepest Self
By the Name only You can give
Whispering in so loud a voice
That gives the dead the choice to Live

Many of us say we know You
But Love says that that’s not true
Whenever we say You dwell in us
But can’t see our neighbor inside of You

Or when we make the least important things
The sandy ground of our foundations
Forsaking the Rock upon which You’ve built for us
The most enduring of habitations

We’re distracted by the attraction
Of getting more by giving less
We measure others by the scale of our selfishness
Then give ourselves credit when we confess

But despite all of this You love us
And that never shall decrease
Even when we deny Your Presence
By not seeing you in our least

And that’s the refining fire
You love us everywhere we go
Even when we use Your Name to tell our lies
And act like You don’t know

You are definitely some kind of amazing
I hope my soul can reach your standard
I give up my story that keeps me up at night
To awaken to Yours that’s so much grander.

© Copyright 2020 Pedro S. Silva II

The New Me

In a Roofless Church blog post, I wrote about how I sometimes hold myself back from shining my light. The excuse that I was using was that by holding myself back in some areas, I was somehow protecting the people who would otherwise try to hold me back. I’d hold myself back before they could try to. Yeah. That sounds pretty silly writing. But I made it make sense. Fortunately, I didn’t hold myself back completely. I made sure to write whether it was blogs, poems, articles, letters, etc. Doing this was like leaving myself clues back to me. And writing that post admitting to myself what I was doing was just the push I needed to stop holding myself back in one area that I’ve held back in for decades–my music.

The image above is the cover for my new single. Over a year after I wrote the song, I finally got to a place where I could put it out there and open the door to some new possibilities of creative expression. In so doing, I am admitting to myself that I have no excuse for holding back. Spiritually, speaking, I never had an excuse anyway as I express in some of my lyrics:

They can’t kill me
Holla if you feel me
Who I am was never born
So they’re never getting near me

Many of us are trapped in the habits of old patterns and behaviors that we want more than anything to break free from so that we can be the people we know we are capable of being–better parents, partners, etc. There are unfulfilled dreams that hang over us like shadows and darken our self-perception limiting how we show up in situations. This song is an anthem for those of us who refuse to leave this world without shining that light that we are. We will shine! To be the new us, we will kill the old us. The old us lives fearing the illusion of death. The new us lives life as fully as we possibly can.

Primarily, I wrote this song and am putting it out into the world for myself–to eradicate any excuse I might make to not shine the light that Creator put in me. Secondly, I wrote it for my wife and kids because if there is anything that they want to do, I want them to at least try. Even if they fail, they can hold their head up knowing that they put themselves out there. And I can’t teach them that if I don’t live that. Thirdly, I did it for everybody who needs a reminder that as long as they have breath in their lungs, it is never too late to be who you might’ve been.

To be the new me
I had to kill the old me
To wake up from this lie bruh,
This is what they told me

Wake up from the dream
Death ain’t nothing but a bee sting
Hallelujah’s what we sing
From the moment we see that real thing

To hear my new single click here.

Becoming My Father Figure

In a moment of self-reflection
I determined something sad
Perhaps I will never have a child
Until I become the father I never had

As a kid I’d approach different men
And ask if they had a son
If the answer they gave was ever “no”
I’d ask if I could be there one

Little boys need their fathers
I am a testament to that
I have spent my whole life chasing mine
And being how I thought he should act

I watched the rest of the “single mother crew”
Trying to find acceptance among our clan
But I didn’t want to be raised by kids
So I continued to pursue the Man

I had a grandpa who died when I was four
I had an uncle who was pretty cool
A guy named Chico who my mom once loved
And a couple of teachers from my school

They all had an impact on me
But it still was not enough
And though I still saw my real dad from time to time
I still needed a father’s love

So in every man I met
I looked for the best part I could find
I knew that all of them couldn’t make one dad
But part of them could be mine

So I guess you could say I’m blessed
That’s why I still pray for all my niggas
All of us who deep inside
Are still looking for our father figure

© Copyright 2019 Pedro S. Silva II

I wrote this poem almost 20 years ago—before I had my kids obviously. I came across it when looking for something in the garage. It was in a cardboard box next to my high school year book. For a moment I hesitated looking at them both. But lately, I have been thinking a lot about the presence of my father’s absence. You read that right—the presence of my father’s absence.

It is strange how we can feel someone’s distance. I felt my dad’s. Every time I found myself in a situation where I felt like I needed a dad, I could feel that my dad wasn’t there. And I imagine, that a lot of other boys in my situation felt that way too. And as men, I bet a lot of us still wrestle with that presence of absence.

Now that I have my own children, I cannot imagine intentionally being out of their lives. Still, I don’t blame my dad for not being able to be who I thought I needed. One reason I don’t blame him is because I know that I can’t judge him. First of all, what good would it do? Second of all, he must have been carrying something very painful to not have the capacity for fatherhood in the conventional sense.

To make up for the absence, I allowed the space to be filled with God and the Frankenstein father I created from the pieces I picked up–and am still picking up–along the way.

As I reflected on this and on who I experience myself as now, I like to think that everything that happened was perfect. And yet, I can’t help but wonder about those other people in my position who were never able to fill that absence—people who to this day long for what we’d hoped for in a father figure. I wonder and I pray that they become who they have always been looking for.

My Creator

You are the Love of my Life
And the Life in my love.
Every love poem I write to You
Has been plagiarized from Your Heart.
Though words cannot contain You or express You,
You have endless names
So that anyone who will
Can know the satisfaction of calling on You.
But Named or not,
We cannot beckon You to come where You’ve never left.
You are always here.
The places we go where we cannot find You do not exist.
As the Psalmist wrote,
“When I awake, I am still with You.”
Am I still with You?
I must be.
Or I would not be writing words that only Love can speak.
Am I awake?
I must be.
Or I am dreaming the only thing worth dreaming—
That You are the Love of my Life
And the Life in my love.


The Wages of Skin

I’m sorry I apologized
When I was just being me
I was just a slave
Who falsely thought I was free

But now that I’m seeing more clearly
This is what I meant to say
Kiss my grits
And get the H-E double hockey stick out my way

I think you get my point
Without me going to extremes
I could say it a little harder
But it wouldn’t change an ounce of what it means

Besides if my dead grandmother were here
And heard me talk to you like that
She’d slap the taste right out my mouth
And give all my apologies back

See, the worst things in life are often inherited
Taught to fear in the name of survival
Illusions of superiority
Cloaked in the excuse that we’re all tribal

We say those before us committed the crimes
But we choose to pay the price
So when we accept the earnings of an unjust cause
The effect is our souls being sacrificed


Me

Emerging from Nowhere
Participating in everything
Desiring Nothing
I walk Alone
With everyone

Unfathomable Love

If you knew how much I love you
This world would not exist
Yes, there’d be a world and you’d be there
But it would not look like this

Where you now see separation
Everything you’d see is One
All would shine as they are meant to shine
So there’d be no need for sun

War will have never been
Every tragedy has been abated
You encounter someone who’s not like you
And that fact is celebrated

There will be no calls for justice
Or the concept of “what is fair”
Since we’d all create what it is we love
And no one else would care

Family’s only meaning
Would be loving as you love you
And lies would have no place to be
Since every spoken word is true

The most beauty you’d ever witness
Will be wherever you choose to gaze
Songs of joy would never cease
Along with never ending praise

But you choose not to know I love you
Because you’ve chosen one concern
To decide who else I’m supposed to love
Based on what you think they earned

So instead of the world I gave you
You’ve created a distortion
Invented lack in abundant life
And tried to break it up in portions

Because I love you I haven’t stopped you
I trust eventually you’ll get it
Because you’re in time and I am not
I can see where this is headed

I am Love that knows no bounds
Wherever you hide I will be Present
For the world you’ve made where I don’t exist
I have hidden it in Heaven!

© Copyright 2019 Pedro S. Silva II

For Your Consideration

How can we choose God who we cannot see and reject our brothers and sisters who we can see?
This is the choice before us.
To love who we can accept or love who God loves.
Nothing can prepare us for the full revelation of God’s love.
It is an undoing love that sets souls free.
God, undo us. Remove the chains that bind us to the false self,so that our true self can emerge.
Nothing can prepare us for the awareness that God fully loves all—even those we would not choose to love.
Choosing God is choosing all of God’s children.
It is choosing ourselves. May we choose wisely. Amen.