What Will You Say? (A Poem in Response to George Floyd’s Martyrdom)

What will you say,
If you found out that they got me?
Knee to the neck
Or they shot me?
You knew me;
Now you forgot me?
What will you say?
“I thought he was so different.”?
“He shouldn’t have been on that hit list.”?
“There will be justice.
God is my witness”?
“I swear I’ll never forget this.”?
What would you say,
If I told you this was my family?
When they’re damning them,
Then they damn me.
Saying where we can
And we can’t be.
From the beginning,
I know that they stamped me.
What would you say,
If I told you daily I’m dying?
That this is the world that I’m in.
They want your soul,
For a buy in.
The Truth hurts,
When they’re lying.
What would you say
If George Floyd
Was suddenly me?
It was Pedro under that knee?
Let’s pray one day we don’t see.

© Copyright 2020 Pedro S. Silva II

Whenever my two year old cries for me not to leave her as I walk out the door, I wonder if somehow she knows that this might be the last she sees me–that I might make a mistake and run a red light or go to the store or go for a walk on the trail just outside our neighborhood and never come back. Then immediately after thinking those thoughts, I rebuke them. I tell myself that it is not fair for me to project my anxieties onto my toddler. I remind myself that I have a family, a ministry, and a life that matters. I tell myself that I cannot let these ideas that I live with like a permanent limp, dictate how I live. So I pray, get up, and go about the business of living. And then…

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Check out Stamped From the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi

 

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

Love Punk

I’m afraid to tell you how much I love you

Because you don’t love you more

Which makes my love for you seem too much

And you refuse to be outscored

So instead of loving you more than me

You try to make me love you less

Thinking how can I love what you don’t love

Which leaves both of us depressed

So in order to protect us from me and you

I hide my love for you in the future

So we can feel we learned what we already knew

Since you only run when I pursue you

That’s why I leave so I can stay

Creating space just to get close

Believing I can love you all I want

Once you learn to love you most

© Copyright 2018 Pedro S. Silva II

Sadness v. Anger

When faced with sadness v. anger

I find it very hard to choose

Because no matter who I side with

It seems someone has to lose

If I decide to go with sadness

It’s like a path to self destruction

Bottling up what is going on

Which begins to effect the way I function

With a less than upbeat countenance

People soon begin to notice

A thousand thoughts going through my mind

Making it a challenge to keep my focus

Soon acquaintances are always checking in

Trying to see if I’m okay

But before I explain what’s on my mind

Their minds begin turning the other way

Which only makes me sadder

I should’ve kept my problems to myself

Few people want to see the pain they hide

Reflected in the face of someone else

“Aren’t we all supposed to be happy

All the blanking time”

A thought that’s so unsettling

That I start to cross the anger line

But here’s the thing about our anger

On the surface it feels so freeing

But spending too much time with it

Can make you a different human being

See with sadness we feel like we should improve

It leads to the gate of our frustration

Where with anger it only feeds itself

On the fuel of justification

We feel it’s a right to have some anger

To feel it is not unique

Some would even say that it’s in vogue

Competing with stress for what’s more chic

Anger gets you some respect

Which in a way can be addicting

Unlike sadness which often comes with shame

Or guilt which is itself restricting

Anger seems to have your back

While sadness only takes you down

You can have an honest laugh with anger

But sadness is better expressed with frowns

People will support you in your anger

With sadness they push away the feeling

We can take our anger to increasing levels

But sadness has to have a ceiling

Maybe it’s because anger’s more entertaining

It makes for a better story

The angry teams walks away with gold

The sad team looking worse outside their glory

We even can accept an angry god

Before we can accept a god who’s sad

Even when meeting God whose name is Love

We anticipate god, the abusive dad

For a loving God knows sadness

This is also the God who cries

But a God who suffers is a God we resist

For this is a God to Whom we’re obliged

For if God suffers we’re never alone

If God endures we’re not in danger

For a God who relates to how we feel

Takes away the righteousness of our anger

We see our pain in context

Through the rending of this veil

We see that when we choose to separate

We are the authors of our own betrayal

Because as long as we are angry

We can’t choose reconciliation

The only way back to our more whole selves

Restored from humiliation

You see healing requires sadness

Even if anger’s our first decision

Because sadness means our heart still has some hope

And has not surrendered to division

Now accepting this isn’t easy

Anger is truly a sweet temptation

But in the end it proves a hopeless endeavor

That only persists in separation

 

© Copyright 2015 Pedro S. Silva II