Heart of Stone (Pablo Santiago)
I want to tell the world… I want to tell my grandsons… keep your heart open.
When I was a boy… I have to tell you this… when I was a boy, my father used to beat us. Me, my brother, and my mother. It was bad. I learned to never cry. I was just a little boy, 8 years old, but no matter what happened, not a tear in my eye. Never.
One day when my brother and I got a little older…we came home from school, and my mom… she was in bad shape. We started to go a little crazy. Like animals. We went into the street, filled with rage. And we waited until dark at the side of the road that our father always walked on his way home. And when he came… it was very dark… when he came… we jumped out. And tried to beat him. He saw us—he knew who we were—he pulled out his knife and went to kill my older brother… but he slipped…. it was like a miracle… like god knocking him down… he slipped and fell to the ground.
And we went crazy, really crazy now, and we took the knife and started stabbing him for everything he had done to us and to our mother… and my brother cut open his chest and pulled out his heart. There was a plastic bag nearby and he shoved the heart inside and we began to throw it back and forth… like kids playing ball.
At some moment, I opened the bag to look inside. I couldn’t believe what I saw. There was no heart inside….not a human heart… this heart was stone, his heart had turned to stone.
And when I saw this… I dropped the bag and ran… and for the first time that I could remember I began to cry, like the child I was vulnerable and raw. I knew then… I knew… I must never allow my heart to turn to stone. I had to break the cycle. I had to change everything… I had to open my heart. So that this kind of abuse would never happen again, not in my family.
I went through a lot after that. I been through a lot. But my heart, is not a stone.
I took on life and overcame. These are some of the words I have to say to you…
I want to cry at this morning, not because I am sad but because of life and how hard it is, everything that I learn and everything I don’t. Everyone I loved, and those I don’t love. Everything… all the effort I made…maybe it was never enough, but I did something something. You can overcome and be something.
And for me, my life is a pandera, a tambourine, I am playing it, for me I can tell you this… … for all he made me go through, for all I have been through, I stand before you, even in death, as a man, a real man right now, I am a father, my sons live, and they felt my love. My heart is not stone… my heart is not a stone.