My heartfelt condolences to Ted's family.
One day decades ago, Ted and I were walking down a street in downtown Toronto. He stopped to give a beggar some money. He said to me, I imagine them when they were babies. I was so struck by this that I've never forgotten and for me it was a life changing moment, among many in my encounters with him.
Funnily enough, that day he stopped in curiosity by an Eckankar storefront as well, trying to make sense of the philosophy. I just thought Eckanakar was weird. But those 2 events were Ted in a nutshell: a man of great kindness and compassion and a man with a curious and hungry mind, eternally fascinated by the mysteries around him. He was erudite and he was a polymath and he loved writing in Latin.
He loved the endless mystery of Jesus and G-d, loved people, flying, music, art, and created a beautiful natural garden filled with grace, a sanctuary for humans and birds. He planted trees. He surrounded himself with beauty and created beauty everywhere he could . In fact, when I think of him now, I think of Byron's poem: He walks in beauty, like the night/ Of cloudless climes and starry skies,/ And all that's best of dark and bright / Meets in his aspect and his eyes.
He once described himself as not a gentle man. I imagine he had his struggles. But it was a face he never showed to me, or, I imagine to many others. To me he was and is a tzaddik; in Judaism that means a completely righteous person, someone spiritually great. In mystical Judaism, some believe, based on a passage in the Talmud, that in every generation there are 36 tzaddikim, the hidden spiritually great ones. "In merit of these righteous individuals, our world receives the divine vitality that keeps it going. We do not know for sure, however, the identity of all these extraordinary individuals. I believe he is one of those hidden tzaddikim; I know of no one who more closely emulated Jesus than he.
To the end, I know, he was putting others first. He was my mentor, my dear friend for 42 years, and my role model. A talk with him was always brimming with life and vigour, always elevating, as was his being. Knowing him turned my life in the right direction when I was young and lost, and his influence continues to this day and always will. Gratitude' is an inadequate expression for the great gift of his friendship.
On a side note, funnily enough I never knew he was a priest until years later, and that was something I learned by accident. I never brought it up, and we never spoke of it. To me, he was and is simply, Ted.
Requiesce in pace, dearest friend. Until we meet again.
Grazyna Bliss Bak