"We all hope. It's what keeps us alive."
~~David Mamet, Speed-the-Plow

Hi all,

This is a bit thrown together.  It's seeming like every time I find my footing, something else happens to throw me for a loop.  But, all things considered, I'm doing pretty well and thank those of you who have been so supportive. 

God bless,

The State of the Dyelanders Address
by Andrew

As I was looking back over this year in preparation for giving this speech, it hit me just how much we've all grown.  When I first came to Dyeland, JenniAnn, at seventeen, was among the youngest of the people here.  She's given me permission to say that she'll be thirty this summer.   Be prepared, Laja.  Plans are already being made for your party...  And Rose, our "baby," turned twenty two today.  Happy birthday, Rose!  But growth... true growth... is much more than age.  And I've seen a lot of that.  Babies have been born, romances have blossomed, friendships have deepened, faith has been rekindled and strengthened.  People have seen past their own trials to reach out to others.  You've gone outside your comfort zones to reach out to people, to help them, to share that sense of belonging that we are so blessed to have.  I'm so proud of you all and honored to call you friends.  Even more importantly, the Father is so pleased with each of you.  He loves you all so much and I hope you never, ever forget that.  If you do, I'll be there to remind you. 

When I sat down to write this last year, we were all still grieving.  Though that pain has lessened, I know it will never entirely go away.  And that's okay.  Because when you love someone... anyone... it hurts to know they're no longer on earth with you.  And as you go through life and face more losses, it's only natural that they bring back into your mind and into your hearts... more than usual... the memory of loved ones whose deaths you thought you had overcome.  A man I met only briefly during an assignment once said of losing a loved one "You don't get over it, you just get on with it."  In all my years as an angel of death, I don't think I've ever been able to say anything that so perfectly describes loss.  But I do have something to add: you don't have to "get on with it" alone.  You have friends.  You have a Father who will never, ever leave you.  So on those nights when regrets keep you up or on those days you reach for the phone and then remember there is no number you can call for your loved one... reach out and reach up.  Someone will always be there for you.

A beloved prayer reads "In the midst of death we are in life."  I think that might have been our anthem this past year.  Because there has been such life!  And laughter and peace and a whole lot of fun.  I, for one, will never forget how understanding and kind you were when a certain youthful indiscretion of mine came to light last April.  Oh... I wish you could see your faces right now.  Relax!  Tess, please stop looking at me like that.  I only mean my infamous roof jumping incident.  Thanks to some of you, I no longer feel self-conscious wearing shorts.  That's quite an accomplishment.  As was getting my hair cut.  Between JenniAnn's actual styling and Rose's and Adam's musical stylings, I think they've ruined the typical barber experience for me.  There's nothing quite like getting gum cut out of one's hair to the accompaniment of "Hallelujah."  Then September brought my observed birthday... an occasion that wouldn't even exist without the kindness of you ladies who always do your best to ensure we angels feel loved.  It meant so much to celebrate with all of you.  The promise of good times to come has seldom seemed more real and more possible to me than it did that day.  As October drew to a close, I was blessed again when I became supervisor to Violeta.  I am very grateful to the Father for her company and for the joy of seeing the world through less experienced eyes.  I am also grateful to all of you for welcoming her and helping me to teach her and love her.  With the arrival of Christmas we came upon another chance to celebrate John's life together.  You all did so with such love.  One of the things I love best about being an angel of death is standing in awe and wonder as I am blessed with opportunities to glimpse your strength as humans and your devotion to each other.  I had so many of those opportunities that night.  You are, each of you, a testament to his legacy of love and compassion.

In these early months of 2012, I can already tell that this will be another year of drawing closer to each other and embracing God's plan for our lives.  Whatever path His plan leads us down, we don't walk it alone.  We have Him, we have each other.

Past Assignments' Day Match Game

March 20th is celebrated as Past Assignments' Day around here.  I thought a game might be fun... plus it's about all I had time for.  So... in the left column you will see descriptions of folks the angels helped on TBAA.  In the right are names.  Match them correctly and... well, there's no prize (unless you count the easter egg hidden somewhere on this page) but hopefully you'll have had fun.

1.  I essentially lived two lives.  After the loss of a brother, I became politically active and, unfortunately, one of my actions proved fatal so I fled my prior existence and turned to a life of prayer.
Eric Weiss
2.  I, too, thought I had lost a brother but was shocked when I discovered he was very much alive.  Also, I sort of slapped "Andy."  Sorry about that.

Billie Holiday
3.  I rather reluctantly took Andrew on as a partner after my car was incapacitated and I had a run-in with a drug dealer.

Jordan DuBois
4.  Despite Monica's attempts to protect me, Andrew took me Home when I was killed for speaking out against abuses in my native country.

Susan Duplain
5.  Andrew gave me a stern talking to after my daredevil ways landed me in a hospital bed.

Scott Hardwick
6.  My Ginger Man helped me find the strength to perform a powerful and gut-wrenching song.

Danni Blake
7.  Though Andrew kissed me, I don't think he much cared for me and my cheating ways which cost a college classmate his life.

Sr. Theodore
8.  An angry Andrew confronted me when I wouldn't see my son and I lost my temper.

Erica Lowry
9.  I briefly met Andrew when I went off in search of my daddy.

Jean Chang
10.  Andrew was my IRS agent.  Also, I fought in a war to which he was no stranger. 

Stella Applegate
11.  My boy claimed Andrew was his father when he met his new classmates.

Maury Hoover
12.  Andrew counseled me when I was on the ledge of my building, feeling abandoned and unloved.

Leroy Tucker
13.  Andrew helped nurse me and get me through cancer treatment as my father confronted his past. 

Jett Rudin
14.  I hitched a ride with Andrew after someone dared to steal my beloved husband's ashes.

15.  Andrew kept me company as I perused an art gallery and contemplated my family's future without me.

Nick Stratton

This newsletter is dedicated to all the times and all the ways John brought peace and hope to the grieving.  Thank you.  I won't underestimate you again.


JABB 352

(Photo Credits: The photographs used on this page are from "Touched by an Angel" and owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon Water Productions. They are not being used to seek profit.)