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I guess I need to get back on the saddle, as they say. This is my first weekend working with Andrew since I went back Home. The assignments have been pleasant but it was awkward. I feel like the progress we made was washed away. It’s nothing he said or did. And I don’t think he’s angry with me. I feel like I’ve disappointed him and You. I wanted to be perfect. I wanted to serve You perfectly and make Andrew proud but I just don’t understand humans. Sure, most of them have been nice. But how does one make sense of someone taking the life of another person? I’m not sure I belong down here. Yet I know You are always right in everything You do. I’m so confused.
Andrew’s friends have been very kind to me since I came back. However, I can tell they’re wary. They think I’m going to hurt their friend. The worst part is, I think I have. As much as I want to do Your will, I think Andrew’s even more set on it. I tried to tell him it wasn’t his fault that I struggled so with what we saw. I’m not sure he believed me. He blames himself for not being able to take my pain away. He is so good, so sensitive. I think maybe the hardest part of that assignment was seeing the tears well in his eyes when it started. He said he’d never met that man who was killed but he seemed to love him. I think that’s what I most want to learn from him: how to love them even without knowing them. And how to love them when they are known, foibles and all. But to do that, I need to stick with our assignments. I won’t ask to take any more breaks. I promise.
I think I’m going to see if Andrew’s free for dinner. A talk would be good, I think.
You’d think I’d be more comfortable with this coming from Records. It seems odd, though, to be typing my thoughts to You into this computer but Andrew said it might help. He said he does it sometimes and then it helps him to look back, to see how upset he was and yet how he overcame that, how the Father helped him to. He’s right about so much…
I want to thank You for choosing Andrew as my supervisor. You know I was a little put off at first. I just couldn’t understand what he was doing with all those girls hanging around him. Now I understand. They love him and he loves them. They’re Your gift to each other and You’ve given me a little of that gift, too. I do feel blessed.
That’s not to say I’m not confused or annoyed sometimes. I’m sorry for that but I am, Father. Yesterday Andrew and I were in the poorest village I’ve ever set foot in. A woman had died during childbirth because of a lack of the most basic medical care. Her eldest daughter came into the school where Andrew and I were working, carrying the baby and hoping to enroll her younger sister. You know how Andrew is. He did more than get the little girl settled into the school. He talked to the older girl, listened to her as she mourned for her mother, and then he offered to let her sit in on classes, bringing the baby with her. Seeing the change that came over the girl… the wonder and the hope… Father, I’ll never forget it.
Then today we were back in Dyeland and Andrew came across JenniAnn, halfway to hysterical, because her cousin and been pestering her. He hugged her and listened to her and got her laughing. After JenniAnn had gone to class and it was just the two of us, I asked Andrew how he could be so patient with her middling worries when only hours before he’d been counseling a girl with the weight of her whole family on her shoulders. He smiled gently and said “Pain is pain, Violeta. True, Adelina’s situation is much more dire. But both she and JenniAnn were hurting and God gave me the chance to ease their pain. So I did. I hope I always can do that for people. All the love He pours on us… doesn’t it feel good to show it to others?”
As they say down here… I want to be like him when I grow up.
Wow. I totally didn’t realize that my last posting here was a year ago to the day. That seems appropriate.
Here’s the thing: I’m still having a hard time thinking of getting back to this. I decided that what made writing Andrew in first person so difficult was that I would imagine John as Andrew saying those words… how his voice would sound, what facial expressions he would have, when he would run his hand through his hair, when he would tilt his head, when his eye brow would raise… And it was hard to imagine him in such detail and think I won’t see or hear any of that again until I’ve gone Home, too. Unfortunately, this hasn’t changed. First person Andrew still seems daunting. But I miss writing about his assignments and how he cared for them. So… until I’m able to get back to first person Andrew, I’m going to start doing entries as Andrew’s protege, Violeta, and maybe even LJA. They’ll write about Andrew but in their own words with their own mannerisms and then, hopefully, I can cope with that.
And for my first outing as Violeta… I have pumpkin pie and milk to help.
This is one area of JABB’s web site that I’m having a really hard time carrying on with. It’s not that I don’t want to. Frankly, this blog is really convenient for me when I need to look back and see what was happening for Andrew and the Dyelanders at a given time. So I don’t want to give it up.
But maybe because it’s so tied to Andrew’s thoughts and assignments, aspects that are canonical TBAA and not apocryphal Dyeland, I’m just having a hard time beginning Andrew’s first post following John Dye’s death. I kept telling myself that “This weekend I’m going to update Andrew’s blog” but each weekend passes without it really seeming right.
I’m sure eventually I’ll feel up to it. Heck, maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow and decide then’s the time to carry on with this blog. But, then again, it could be several weeks out. I don’t know.
The conclusion I’ve come to is this: there was most assuredly a John Dye without Andrew. And while he wasn’t an angel, by all accounts John was a fellow human who we should be proud to consider one of our own. And I am.
But there was no Andrew without John Dye. I can think of John apart from Andrew. But I can’t think of Andrew apart from John. And so it’s just a little difficult to hop on here and try to give voice to the deepest parts of a character that only John could really bring to life without just feeling so sad.
And, to be honest, maybe part of my hang-up is that the last time I was so merrily typing away as Andrew, unbeknown to me, John was already dead. Reading that entry now, I don’t even remember writing it. It seems written by another person, in another time.
So that’s where I am in this. It’ll come back at some point. I just don’t know when. I just know I’m grateful to have been so inspired by John Dye’s work and to still feel that inspiration even if, for now, I need to take care with where I focus it.
I wanted to take a few moments to thank You for some events that happened after West Hollow.
First, I’m grateful that the main part of my assignment there wrapped up in time to have a little Halloween party in Dyeland. I may still be ambivalent about the earthly celebration but it would have been a shame to miss out on the Tunnel kids in their carefully homemade costumes and seeing how thrilled they are by simple games and story telling. It also helped my mood to be surrounded by innocence and kindness.
I had a great time in Paris the week before Thanksgiving. I hope Brigette and Dorian have a full, long, love-filled life together. It was really great to have an assignment end so happily on this side.
Then came Thanksgiving in the Tunnels. William really outdid himself this year and I, for one, was happy to be well. More than once I caught some of my friends casting me wistful glances and I could tell they were thinking about Thanksgiving 2009. Thank You for giving us such a calm, happy celebration.
Then there was Christmas. Father, I pray that all my friends get the lives they want. And I hope that if there’s any way I can help bring those dreams around that You will let me know how and when. They’re good people, great friends and they deserve that. I hope one day I really do get to meet my nieces and nephews. I love them already and they don’t even exist!
I know New Year’s Eve is always a busy time for us so I didn’t expect to be able to spend any of it in Dyeland. So that hour was very appreciated and it felt really good to ring in a new year among friends. I hope it’s an amazing one.
If my current assignment is any hint, I think it’s going to be an interesting year assignment-wise. Vic’s quite a character. There aren’t too many people who would open a cafe/costume shop/used book store! Please help me to get him to trust me so I can help him to know You’re there for him. I get the idea that he hides behind all these personas because he’s afraid no one will like the real him. You and I both know that’s not the case. I hope soon he does, too.
I think I should have made “Write in a timelier fashion” one of my resolutions. But I think I needed some time to think about West Hollow, maybe even needed to completely finish the assignment first.
My assignment in West Hollow was difficult for two different reasons: what I don’t understand and what I understand far too well. Father, no matter how many assignments You give me, no matter how many eons pass… I still don’t understand how some human beings can be so cruel. During one of my visits back, Erica asked me to go with her when she had to testify. I saw Ted. And I saw that he still had absolutely no regard for her and not any regret for the pain he caused her and Ruby, April, Molly, Laura, Brigid, Taryn, and the townspeople, especially Jonah. I have seen terror. And I have seen shame… shame felt by victims who did absolutely nothing wrong. I’ve seen grief and desperation and it breaks my heart. When Erica was on the stand and crying as she recalled the rape, I wanted to hug her and tell her how proud I was of her and how loved she is. And Ted just sat there and glared and leered.
I believe with all my heart that those women will continue to be the strong, caring women they’ve always been. I know You’re with them. I know You’re with Ted, too. And maybe that makes it even more difficult for me to understand why there are men like him. I’m very grateful that I was able to help Erica, Jonah, and others in West Hollow but I dread ever having another assignment like that. Please help me, Father, when I do. I just want to do Your will and share Your love always. No matter how hard it is at times.
Thank You for allowing the girls to come. You and I both know that I wasn’t happy about it at first but I know they were right and You were right. But knowing that doesn’t make what I felt go away. Father, I feel like in some way You’ve entrusted them to me. And it doesn’t feel the same as when You give me an assignment. This is different and deeper. I want to protect them. But I know that I can’t always. Laja assured me that I protect the parts of her that are most important: her soul and her spirit. I hope I do for the others, too, when they need me to. But sometimes it’s very, very difficult to know that I might not always be able to protect them physically. You know that one of the most difficult parts of being an angel of death is the inability to intervene. Sometimes it’s nearly unbearable with assignments I haven’t even met. But for it to be a friend… please, Father, help us if it ever came to that. I know You would never cause something like that to happen but free will… it can change things. I remember after I got promoted, You told me that sometimes it would be difficult to understand how people abuse that gift. It is. But You also said that there would be no love, no friendship without it. I hope I always remember that.
I know I might not see Jonah, Erica, and the others for a long time. I hope when I do that they’re in even better places than they are now and I hope they still recognize that You are always with them and always loving them. From early October until Christmas Eve, You let me have a place in their lives. I feel really blessed that I was able to spend time with them. I’ll miss them but I know they’re still in Your hands.
I know I don’t have to explain to You why I haven’t written. I’ve already said so much but there’s more I want to say about what happened in West Hollow. First I wanted to take some time to remember what happened before You sent me there. Because I valued those assignments and those occasions with friends, too.
On the 20th my friends yet again spoiled me with their designated celebration of my birthday. They remembered how much I liked the clothes, patched with pieces of their own, they gave me when I was homeless. So they made a quilt for me. I took it with me to West Hollow but You knew I needed more than just a token of them. Thank You. And thank You for seeing to it that I was with them for the party. I’m not sure who would have been more upset to be separated on my birthday: them or me. Having Monica there made it even more special. Even though Tess couldn’t be there, it meant so much that she called to sing to me. And the hockey stick from Raquel and Nico was really great. And useful.
Then I had my assignment with Cyril. Like I told Laja: there’s nothing quite like seeing an old man polka his way into Heaven! That’s one of those assignments I won’t soon be forgetting.
Then came my gig as a postal worker in South Dakota. I hope April is continuing to look on the bright side when she can. I wasn’t sure I’d get through to her. That assignment reminded me of Max. It made me wish Monica and Tess were with me.
After I left April, You sent me to St. James Prep where I was a janitor. You know, I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun scrapping gum off desks. Ed was a character (still is) and I wish more people at the school would have appreciated him before it was too late to tell him. I know You’ve told him. And I know one day they’ll be able to. That’s one of the great things about being an angel: knowing there’s always forever.
Next came my time as a convenience store clerk. That was difficult. Father, I still don’t understand what causes people to harm others. Don’t they think about what they’re doing to those left behind? To You? I wish I could get through to more of them. But free will… it’s an amazing gift. One of the most important. I wish all people recognized that and treated it as the chance to do good that it is.
You knew I needed some fun after that. And You must have thought my friends did, too. All these years as an angel and this was my first time as a hand model. It’s harder work than I realized! And now I get to spend a good, long time watching my friends flip through magazines looking for my hands. 0:-) At least I got Bernadette to realize that she needs to take some time off for herself and for her health. I really enjoyed my time with her but, for her sake, I hope I don’t see her again for a long time!
It was great to spend a day at the Phoenix again at the end of September. Every time I see Crystal she seems even more sure of herself and stronger. And Jason… that kid is going places! Catherine and her staff are doing amazing work. I hope their new addition fits in well. You know, I’m really glad You created dogs.
Bennie… Father, I’m still not sure what I think about her return last month. I’m angry at her for upsetting Rose and Laja. I don’t think it’s fair that she ran away before hearing us out completely. But when I think about her… mostly I feel sad. I feel like she needs us now. But how can you help someone who has made it clear they don’t want you around? As I wrote that, it occurred to me that You must feel that sometimes. It’s not easy. If there’s anything You want me to do for Bennie: I’m here.
After that I spent some time behind the counter at Bill’s Book Bazaar. I may not have gotten many customers but at least I got some reading done. So is Bill still trying to find Shakespeare and Dante and his other favorite authors? I wish I was There for those conversations!
Then came Oct. 8th when I started my assignment in West Hollow. I don’t want to write about that right now. Some of the girls will be here soon. But thank You for giving me that evening away from it on the 10th so I could help celebrate Adam’s birthday. Thank You for Adam, period.
I know I have to meet my assignment in… 13 minutes. But I didn’t want to keep putting this off. I tried to share with You how grateful I was for so much during the cruise. But in case I forgot anything, I wanted to do this. I think the girls’ penchant for lists is rubbing off.
Thank You for:
-the talk with Yva and Rose and CJ and Lady Beth and Laja. I feel like a great weight has been lifted from me. And I know they felt better after it, too.
-true love shared by two truly great people.
-red velvet cake
-eye liner… especially when used to pull a prank on Tess
-a chance to dance with all my friends
-Adam’s creativity and friendship
-the sea turtle
-free ice cream
-knowing that those who die are never really gone
-knowing Tess is happy for us and with us
-the chance to help Erica
-getting another chance to be friends with Monica
-knowing Raquel will be happy and never lonely
-good friends who will come to me when they need to talk and will be there for me when I need to
Once again I’ve managed to get very behind on this. But I can’t complain. You’ve kept me busy. And happily busy.
I want to write about the cruise and all that followed. I feel very, very blessed and I think one day I might want to look back on my thoughts from soon after. However, I had some great assignments before that and I don’t want to skip over them. We also had some big events in Dyeland and I don’t feel right skipping past them, either.
June 30th was Vincent’s and Catherine’s 3rd wedding anniversary. There was a party Below. It’s been wonderful watching their love for each other grow and I’m glad we had a reason to celebrate it. It was a lot of fun because this was the first time Jacob was really old enough to enjoy the party and even understand the meaning behind it a little.
Then we celebrated July 4th with fireworks and a cook-out. The kids were thrilled.
In mid-July I had that assignment with Brigid in Dublin. What a great lady! I’ll have to show off some of the step-dancing I learned from her when Monica stops by again. I hope Colleen’s doing alright without her aunt to guide her. I mean I know Brigid’s still watching over her. So are You. Thank You. It’s always easier to leave someone behind when I know You never do.
Let’s see… on the 20th of July we had a low key party to celebrate JABB’s anniversary. Or was that the 19th? It was fun. Although it’s a little weird to celebrate the anniversary of your friends writing jokes and poems about you.
July 24th was Laja’s 28th. Vincent had a great idea this year. Since they could never do much outside when she was little, he organized a party around all those activities. So there were a bunch of us adults playing Hide-and-G0-Seek, throwing water balloons, and climbing trees right along with the kids. I even tried hopscotch again. I’m pretty hopeless. I guess You left the hopscotch ability out when You created me. 0:-) I’m glad Laja liked the Celtic cross. I wanted to get her something meaningful and that would always remind her of You. And, you know, it’s fun to be sneaky sometimes. I was the one that had to talk her into breakfast away from Dyeland that morning so she wouldn’t suspect.
And then it happened… I showed up in an apartment I’d never seen before and found myself staring at a clown suit, neon green wig, and very large shoes. And Buttons the Clown was born (named so in Rose’s and LJA’s honor). I’ll admit I was a little flustered when I found out what You had in store. But I really loved being a clown! It was great to make all those kids so happy… and my friends once Mick let the word out. I’ll have to remember I have no guarantee of privacy when I’m working a case only a few miles from our PI friend.
I’m very happy that Timothy is getting the help and love he needs and deserves. That poor little boy was shouldering way too many burdens. Father, sometimes I find myself feeling something like envy. I know it’s wrong but I still feel it. It’s such an incredible, amazing thing to have a little life entrusted to you. And to see people not appreciate that gift… I know I’ll never be a father. I do. And I would never not want to be an angel. But I can’t imagine ever not appreciating that gift if I could have it. But at least, sometimes, you let me be a clown. Or a teacher. Or a pediatrician. Or You let me spend time in the Tunnels or at the Phoenix. Thank You.
And then came the cruise. I’ll get to that eventually but right now I have an assignment to meet.