"When a human being can be creative, that is when really anything is possible."
~~Nicolas Muller.

Hi all,

On the occasion of John Dye's 52nd birthday, I thought it would be nice to just take some time to reflect. To be honest, sometimes I'm not sure what to do with these birthday issues. I really don't think Dyeland has any place in it and there's only so many online party games a person can put together before it all gets a bit redundant. And, just as we realized with Charles Rocket, a yearly memorial where everyone writes tributes starts to feel needlessly sad and, in some ways, brings ya back to the time when their death was recent and terribly wrenching. So I don't want to do that. Then I thought about writing an open letter to John but that seemed unsettling somehow. So, instead, I'm writing you all this letter.

I read a story once in which a man took to wandering in hopes of finding himself. He brought the Bible with him and read it at night when he was camped out wherever he could find a spot. Then, one day, he realized he didn't need the Bible any more. Not the physical book, anyway. Because it was so much part of him that even when he wasn't physically carrying it, he was carrying it in his heart and in his mind. (Wish I remembered where I read this!)

Personally, I still need my physical Bible along with the niftiness that is BibleGateway.com. But I'm starting to feel that way about John's work, Touched especially. It's been months since I watched an episode. Not because I don't want to. I've just been doing so much else that I haven't really found the time. I miss the ritual of sitting down to watch it with a big mug of chai and a snack, jotting notes for the Episode Guide. But I find I don't miss it for itself. Because I can't miss something that isn't gone. Wherever I go, Andrew, Monica, and Tess go with me. Even more importantly, so do their words about God and His love.

I wish I could tell myself of 2011 not to fret about TBAA becoming too painful to watch. It won't. In fact, it'll get bigger. TBAA and Andrew and John will be there as you and some friends track down the "Look Homeward, Angel." They'll be there as you walk a labyrinth. They'll be there in the cereal aisle (Froot Loops!) and in the snack aisle (red velvet!) and at points it'll all seem so real that it'll take you a few moments to realize Fruit Loops and red velvet weren't actually even significant in TBAA. Rather, they're significant in this ever-growing and dynamic world you and your friends built up where Andrew, Monica, and Tess thrive and still have assignments and sip coffee and talk about God.  But, of course, you didn't do that alone.

I feel like John was the co-creator of one of the most incredible, fun, inspiring sandboxes ever.  He's no longer playing in the sandbox.  In fact, he's moved on up to an infinitely better Sandbox.  But the one he left behind is still really cool.  So we continue to play and learn and encourage each other in the sandbox.  In the first weeks and months after he left the sandbox, we entered it a little nervously.  What if we were blindsided by some sudden remembrance that was too painful?  What if we couldn't stop crying?  But here's the thing about sand: you gotta get it wet in order to build with it.  So that's what we did.  We cried and then we built and we built and we're still building.  And I think that's pretty awesome.

So, John: Happy birthday and thanks for the sandbox!

To all of you: Thanks for being here in the sandbox.  :-)

God bless,

JABB Portal
JABB 430

(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.)