"Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive,
and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."
~~Anais Nin

Hi all,

I've been on vacation so this is a bit thrown together.  The whole time issue isn't helped by the fact that I decided to start a trilogy of sorts!  I don't think it would be particularly healthy for me to go straight from the rather dire "Shadowlands" to a story on human trafficking...  Therefore, I'm writing shorter stories that revolve around three relationships:

1.  Andrew and JenniAnn and their family
2.  Adam, Kylie, and Clay
3.  Emma and Peter

I'll keep you posted on how that goes.  In the meantime, please enjoy the following Qs and As!


God bless,

Jenni


Ask a JABB Co-Founder


1. What is the difference between anam cara relationships and marriage in your stories?


I think the easiest way to answer this is with a handy chart comparing the two.  So here goes!  Please keep in mind this is in reference to my stories only.  Others may (and have) defined the two differently.


Anam Caraism
Marriage
Instituted by God.  Anyone who would label themselves as having an anam cara relationship is a theist of some variety.
Instituted by humans.  Atheists get married, too, after all.  God is not necessarily in the picture although many people do involve God in their marriages and He may even be at the heart of those marriages.
Lasts eternally
"Til death do us part"
Is not a legal arrangement.  A couple could "add on" legal protections (i.e. Andrew and JenniAnn listing each other as health care agents) but there's nothing automatic about it as with civil marriage.
Is generally a legal arrangement.  At least in the States, insurance, inheritance, child custody, tax status, etc. are very much bound up with marriage. 
No divorce... ever.  For me, this and the one below are the main reasons angels can enter into anam cara relationships and NOT marriages.  Divorce is hard enough without dealing with the repercussions for an unending immortal life.
Divorce is very much possible.  It can even be moral under certain circumstances (abuse, etc.)
Can never be forced.  All parties must consent to the union.
Arranged and forced marriages still happen. 
Can involve sexual relations but just as often they don't.
The majority of marriages include sexual relations.
Could be a romantic relationship but it might also not be.  For example, Andrew and JenniAnn interact in quite romantic ways.  John and Joshua do not. 
Romance in marriage is generally the ideal.
Can involve more than two people.  For example, I think the case could easily be made for Maryam-Yeshua-Yosef having a triad anam cara relationship.  Adam-Kylie-Clay is headed this way.  Heck, Joshua strives to have this with everyone.
Marriage is only between two people.
Agapic love is always present.  That doesn't mean the parties involved have it down perfectly but completely selfless love for the other would always be the goal.
One would hope agapic love was present but it's not always the case.  Sadly, some people marry for selfish reasons.
Procreation is not the main focus.  It can be a focus but not the main one. 
For many, procreation is vital to marriage.  (Not saying I agree with this...)
There may or may not be a ceremony.
Most cultures have some sort of marriage rite.

One important thing to note: The two are definitely NOT mutually exclusive.  Maryam and Yosef were legally married.  However, they were and are very much anam caras.  I feel the same is true for Diana and Zeke and so many other wedded couples in the Dyeland stories.  Technically speaking, Maryam and Yosef are no longer married since marriage doesn't exist in Heaven.  However, as Joshua pointed out, introducing each other as anam caras or eternally bound soul mates or the like would start to sound really pretentious and confusing so "this is my wife/this is my husband" is perfectly acceptable.

2.  Why don't you write ordinary TBAA fanfic?  Why did you decide to write about Dyeland?

Because it's fun to write Dyeland stories.  :-)  Truthfully, I never intended to spend this much time writing them.  But because I am, adopting a recursive canon means I can alter whatever bits of TBAA don't suit me (or in some cases don't suit several of us!) and/or just plain don't make sense.  After all, I'm not writing about the Andrew, Monica, and Tess of Touched by an Angel.  Rather, I'm writing about real angels (in their reality) whose adventures inspired that TV show and were often mirrored by it though not always 100% accurately.  Therefore, I can just outright dismiss Andrew and Monica hanging out in "Face on the Barroom Floor" as TBAA writers just having some fun, continuity notwithstanding.  Basically, as much as I love TBAA, I don't really want to write inside its canon.  Additionally, TBAA's rotating cast from week to week worked for me as a viewer for nine years.  However, writing takes a lot more time than watching and so if I'm going to devote all that time and energy, I want to keep at least most of the characters around so I can further develop them as opposed to starting with a fresh supporting cast with each new story.

By keeping the same expanded cast of characters, the Dyeland stories also morph into my favorite genre: family drama.  It's going to be much more intriguing to me to watch Andrew's relationship with an infant Belle change as she enters toddlerhood, childhood, adolescence, and beyond than simply seeing Andrew bond with a new assignment every story.

Ask Andrew

Question:What is your first memory of Asteriana / Asterians? ~Eilish

Answer: Hmm...  Well, those are two separate events for me so I'll start with the first.  I don't remember my earliest involvement with Asteriana and I only know about it because Sam told many of us before I went to Sheol.  It turns out that I'm formed from many of the elements in the Fields of Gold.  My green eyes come from the grasses, my hair color from the wheat and barley and so on.  I can remember the Father sending me to the Fields of Gold in Asteriana many times over the centuries.  The visits helped me calm down after upsetting assignments.

But no visit could compare to March 17, 2000.  That's the first time I actually communicated with people here in Asteriana/Dyeland.  I met JenniAnn then and several of our old friends.  I also met Fr. Mike and his parents, Sibyll and Lewellyn, and his siblings.  It was their family who told me about Asteriana's history and introduced me around Idlewild.  We also visited Daisy and Cliff, who told me more about the portals.  JenniAnn filled me in on the Dyelanders' specific history.  And I've been a part of this great community ever since!

Question: If you could choose just any era to live in (besides now), what era would you choose and why? ~Eilish

Answer: That's a tough one...  It's hard to think of remaining on Earth or even Dyeland for any length of time without my family and friends.  I suppose I'd say the years when Jesus of Nazareth walked the Earth.  There were many, many angels making sojourns to the Holy Land then so I would never have been far from someone who knew me.  And I would have liked spending time with him.

Thanks to Pia for sending the "Ask Andrew" questions!

This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye for making me so darn detail-oriented.  It may sound funny but I think that skill comes at least 80% from me way over-analyzing Dyeland plots and characters. 


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(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.)