Associate Conference Minister Kelly Gallagher writes: Pedro Silva is a member in discernment with the Central Association and has been one of our facilitators for the conversations on race offered in the Conference. He offers these thoughts from an old blog post of his as they are relevant to the conversations we are having now.
Recently, I heard that another childhood acquaintance, who we called “Professor”, died from a gunshot wound. When my mom told me, I felt this wave of feelings pass through me and for a brief moment I felt like I might be next. It was a familiar feeling that I had grown up with—the persistent consciousness that everyday could be my last.
For a long time I prized that sense of impending death because I had found that living with the expectancy of death was a good way for me to overcome any threats people put toward me. “You can only kill me once”, I thought. “And since I am not afraid of death, anything else you try to say or do to threaten me is meaningless to me.” It was my super-power that served me well in my different neighborhoods and other areas of life, where for years I attracted the aggression of others.
Because of this, by the time I reached high school, I had come to believe that I would never live past 18, so even though it was difficult to withstand some of the pain I experienced, the thought that I only had to survive high school without ever succumbing to the negative energies surrounding me, pulled me through. When I reached eighteen and was not dead, I felt like my assassin lurking in the shadows must have been sleeping on the job, so I took my chance and got out of Dodge.
Still, every time I hear that someone I know was killed or died, I start feeling like I am in one of those Final Destination movies and I become hyper sensitive to the world around me.
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