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

Twisted

People,

In the wake of all that is going on with the violence, fear, hurt, and anger in this world, I challenge all of us who are seeking to transcend status quo to read this poem and take it into your heart. If you get something out of it share it. It’s autobiographical, but in the end, it isn’t about me. It’s about taking responsibility for the world that we are all creating. It’s time to wake up or die in our sleep.

The Love,

Pedro S. Silva II

Twisted
Open up your ears and hear
The story that I’m telling you
When I was a little kid
I used to get dissed on the regular

I used to get picked on
Poked at and made fun of
Because I was a sensitive cat
Always talking about One Love

Other kids my age
Had multiple distractions
Where as I was more focused on
Putting words into action

So when I took it to the streets
I didn’t expect to get straight dissed
‘Cause my shoes had too many stripes for Adidas
But not enough for K-Swiss

My words were for nothing
I only evoked laughter
I tried to get them focused off my clothes
But it just didn’t matter

They called me church boy
They said I talked “white”
But they were living cartoon
While I was living real life

I wanted to show love
But all they knew was hating
Perpetually playing themselves
Because they were mentally masturbating

They believed the lie
It had been passed down from their mama
Generations infected by an attempt
To keep the black man in drama

So I took it to the adults
I thought they would understand
But they were too “whitewashed”
To see this burgeoning black man

So I took it to my history teacher
Then he said this to my face
“You’re a smart boy
And a credit to your race”

He thought it was a compliment
Only a white man could say that
If he understood anything about me
He’d have known I wouldn’t play that

But I knew he had good intentions
I could tell he didn’t know
He was caught up like everyone else
So I decided to let it go

I then took it to my Grandma
But what she said left me unsettled
She told me tell white people I was Portuguese
So that they would treat me better

What the hell was that?
Was this some conspiracy?
Everyone and their mama working together
To try to instill fear in me

They saw something I thought was impossible
While I saw something else
They were choosing to believe a lie
But I chose to believe in myself

I knew that God had made me
And I know He only makes the best
So I knew the fact that I was not white
In no way made me less

Someone had gotten it twisted
And I was going to find out who
There was no way I was letting these scared victims of society
Tell me what to do

So at first I examined the white man
Since everyone thought he was so smart
I discovered so many despicable deeds
It was as if he had no heart

Then I checked out the black man
I figured they were more like me
But I got pissed to find out some of them helped
When we were sold into slavery

My mind became consumed with anger
I had to let it out
So I decided to tell every black and white
What I was all about

Well both sides called me a racist
In that they agreed with each other
Whites said I was an uppity nigger
And blacks called me siddity brother

So I then turned to God
Well turned on Him is more accurate
Because I didn’t like the way He made this world
I told Him I wasn’t having it

I said “You better do something
Before I fix this world myself
If You are the One responsible for this
I might as well pray to someone else”

He responded, “While you’re sitting here pointing fingers
How about looking in the mirror
I am the One that made all you see
Call nothing I made inferior

Who are you to judge?
Are you the scale by which all things are measured?
Are all things imperfect as compared to you?
Did you put this world together?

There’s a point to all of this
Just listen to what I’m saying
Perhaps I created this entire world
Just to have you right here praying

In Me anything is possible
To all those who believe
This world is as beautiful or ugly as you see it
It depends on what you choose to perceive

I made this world out of perfection
But in your Ego you thought you could fix it
This world will change when you change your mind
You are the one that got it twisted

© Copyright 2004 Pedro S. Silva II

 

 

Everything and Then Some

When someone asks you to prove your love,

You better prepare to die

Anything less is just holding back

In this beholder’s eye

Though they do not think they’re worthy

They want you to make them feel they are

But no matter how much you offer them

They won’t believe it without your scars

They want to see you bleed

They want you to give it all away

How much your heart has love for them

Is the last thing they demand you say

Your last words should be a testament

To how much they mean to you

But they’ll find a reason to doubt it

No matter what you do

On them the sun should rise

On them the sun should set

Give yourself to anything else

And their whole world will be upset

Even if it’s your own children

Or your faith in your religion

Any focus that is not on them

In their minds will cause division

They will say it’s because they love you

But this can’t be further from the truth

Because if there’s one thing that I’ve learned from love

Is that it never asks for proof

It gives with no thought of getting

It’s sole hope is that we receive

And even after we’ve denied it thrice

We find Love is the One who grieves

Abandoned and abused

Love still keeps us in its prayers

Compelling us to fulfillment

While we are focused on other cares

Love is so relentless

That it will even refuse to die

Coming back to bless its murderers

Despite this fact we still deny

Love forgives us before we seek it

Keeps its promises while we’re debating

And when we arrive in the hells that we create

We find Love is right there waiting

 

© Copyright 2015 Pedro S. Silva II

The Mirror In the Man

I talked to the Man in the Mirror

Who led me to the Mirror in the Man

The thoughts that I reflect upon

That shape how I understand

He told me that to know him

I first had to let him be

To go back to his original state

Untethered and wholly free

Before he was a father

Before he was a son

Before he was just a survival tool

That state where he is One

His suggestion threatened my ego

I feared I would not exist

Without my mind to remind me of who I was

How could my ideas of me persist?

But he told me that all my big ideas

Led me further from the Truth

They were just stories I told myself

So that my so called life had proof

He said the Man in the Mirror

Is not really my reflection

That I was focusing all my power

On a mere ego projection

My mind shining through a filter

That casted only a shadow of myself

That I then looked at Creation through

Seeing shadows everywhere else

This was really hard to swallow

How could this really be?

How can I know who I really am

If my body isn’t me?

And what of other bodies?

If they’re not people, who are they?

And if I try to tell them this,

What will these other bodies say?

Maybe what they’re supposed to,

To ensure that they survive.

But if that is all that we can do

What is it that makes us come alive?

If we are not all these categories

And boxes people check

Are we really anything at all,

When further we reflect?

That’s really a scary thought

But one we have to entertain

If we ever are to know ourselves

As more than programs in our brain

In fact, the fear we feel around this

Is just another survival tool

Because the brain’s designed to not admit

When its programming has been fooled

Try it if you doubt it

Just try thinking something new

Say something that you don’t believe

And see what your brain will do

Synapses will start firing

Doing pattern reconstruction

Telling you what you already “know”

Just like the brain is supposed to function

It’s not easy to resist this

Even when higher knowledge has been revealed

We cannot do what we want to do

As long as the former pattern’s sealed

When I heard this, I couldn’t deny it

I had experienced the same

My brain was making all the rules

When I thought I controlled the game

This thought was so frustrating

The cognitive dissonance started hurting

Trying to hold these opposing thoughts

Was severely disconcerting

That’s when I remembered

Something in the Bible that I read

“Greater is He that’s in you.”

So I listened to “Him” instead

The “me” that is in the world

Started running out of time

As I began my transformation

Through the renewal of my mind

Paul said to die daily

Renewing body, mind, and all

Living from our heavenly body

That is aligned with our mind’s true call

But to do this we must surrender

We lose our lives when we try to save it

So the only Way to truly live

Is to return our lives to the One who gave it

This is the Mind that is in Christ

The Mind begotten but never born

According to the Original pattern

And not the ones to which the brain’s conformed

 

© Copyright 2015 Pedro S. Silva II