Photo by dbking
We tend to believe that mirth and melancholy do not mix. We see them as immiscible as are oil and water. Caring for Ted reveals this as a profound fallacy. Early in the day my heart is torn by his melancholy recitation of questions: where am I, who are you, did I live here before, why does this place seem familiar. A couple of hours later, we are filled with mirth as Ted describes his older brother's babysitting technique.
Ted's brother Dwight seems to have been something of a hellion. When Dwight was tasked to simultaneously plow a field and care for his younger brother, his approach was unique. Dwight told Ted to lay very still on the ground. With horses and plow, Dwight managed to turn over the earth in such a way that Ted's arms and legs were buried. "Keep your head up Ted", Dwight advised. "You will want to be able to breathe."
We were curious. "Ted, didn't you cry?". "No", says Ted "I just held my head up and sort of looked around. I wasn't afraid." Later Dwight need to finish up the plowing near were Ted lay. So he unearthed his younger brother and sent him scampering back to the house.
"Didn't your Mom ask why you were so dirty", we asked. "No", says Ted, "My brothers and I were always dirty. It wasn't much of a consideration."
Mirth and melancholy are mingled every minute of every day. Children starved somewhere as we ate our lunch and laughed at the detailed memories of a man bereft of the ability to create new memories. For now we are perched between heaven and hell, but the day will come when the oil of gladness will separate from the sorrowful flood of pain. Those who choose joy will ascend. Those who cling to their independence will sink into an abyss of loneliness, forever.
God is love. He calls us to our eternal anointing with oil. We can only have it if we trust him to provide it.