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

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.

Me

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

Maker in the Middle

In the center of all things

Is the One Who is All

From the infinitely large

To the infinitely small

Nowhere not the center

Even that which you call edge

Split the atom and there is fullness

There’s no space that you can hedge

There is no private matter

As far as matter is concerned

In fact matter doesn’t matter

Once it’s spiritually discerned

Reality is Oneness

This thought called two has never been

It’s the illusion of separation

Denying the truth of what’s within

We live, move, and have our being

In the One Place all things Be

Once we receive the “I” that sees this

There’s nothing ever more to see

© Copyright 2018 Pedro S. Silva II