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Blessing, Mourning, Mercy

December 12, 2011

“Blessed are those who mourn,” said Jesus.

Friends always referred to us as “Don and Dai Sil” as if it was one name.  We were indeed “one,” two who completed each other, two who were inseparable.

Now Don is gone and invisible but he is still inseparable.  He was never separated from me.

Yet, I mourn the absence of his physical presence. I miss his voice, his eyes—I miss everything about him.

In the pain of my loss of Don, and in my need to go on, I invite everyone—especially myself—to meditate on what Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn.”  Much of my life since Don’s departure has been a meditation on this, which I want to share with you in Shoulder Friends blog writings and also in the book, Looking for Don, scheduled for publication in the winter of 2012.

Today, I focus on another saying of Jesus:

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matt. 5:7)

Most of my life, I was a believing Christian and craved for certainty.  I wanted to be certain about many things, especially about “right and wrong.”

Don didn’t miss that my craving for certainty begat “self-righteousness.”  He was right.  Even without his reminder, I have been aware of this tendency in myself and grappled with this.

I began to cultivate “understanding.” In my head, I understood that certainty led one to be self righteous while “understanding” to mercy.  If you are so certain about your own convictions, you are naturally led to see others’ views as wrong, accompanied with a strong desire to condemn or to convert others to your views.  Understanding leads you to see others and their views in a different light.

Now in Don’s absence, I want to pursue “understanding” more than ever before.  In this frame of mind, I came to the saying of Jesus, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” What a beautiful teaching!  In my grief, I want to be merciful to myself, to others, even to the animals and plants. I want to be merciful to all those who grieve.

“Be merciful to yourself and to others,” I hear Don’s voice every day.


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  1. Grace permalink

    Thanks for the beautiful post Dai Sil and how we need to be reminded how we should be “merciful to ourselves and to others.” I miss Don too.

    • Grace, you are the first one who wrote! It does not surprise me that you liked the part that addresses “mercy.” That’s you and that’s also Don and me. I am so glad that you got to know Don before he left us. It comforts me that Don is missed by you and that you and I are going to learn to be merciful to ourselves and others. Much love to you. Dai Sil

  2. Rose permalink

    Dearest Dai Sil, your writing brought tears to my eyes…touched my heart.

    • I am so glad that my writing touched you. My writing was from my heart and I am glad that my heart reached you! What you wrote also confirms that there is deep love in tears. Thanks. Dai Sil

  3. Nothing erodes identity as much as the death of a loved one, but nothing fortifies it as much, either. I think that any self-righteousness you may have shown in the past is being replaced by a profound understanding, and with that understanding, a kind of peace. Don would be so proud.

    It’s amazing how deep hurt, whether it’s physical or emotional, can produce such sweet and tender mercy and compassion. It’s like the winter frost making apples that much more honeyed in taste. You will offer that mercy and compassion to others, and in doing so, will receive it, and life will begin to lose more of its jagged, hurtful corners.

    • Hi, Yoona,

      During the last few years of Don’s life, I used to tell him that I wanted to die a “simple” woman. He didn’t say much. After he was gone, I found his writing in which he expressed his skepticism about my wish. He was right to be skeptical because it is not easy, to put it mildly. to change life all consumed by a wish to work hard, to achieve a lot, etc. . .visibly success oriented life.

      Now Don is gone, my wish to die a simple woman becomes stronger and stronger. I want to understand to have mercy, not certainty that would lead me to self-righteous.

      Today is Christmas. I am going to take a long walk and look at the beautiful sky where Don now belongs.
      Have a simple, beautiful Christmas.
      Dai Sil

  4. I am sure you are getting closer to your goal of becoming that simple person. Tragedies can shift the ego to a lesser place and open one’s heart. That’s apparently what is happening with you, and it is an arduous but ultimately a positive transformation. I hope you had a beautiful, long walk today. Best Christmas wishes to you, too, Dai Sil!

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