THE CIRCLE OF ACTING
We stayed a little longer after that, going round with our angel guide to visit some more of our lesser brethren. They were all so happy and friendly, gathering around us eagerly as though they had never seen angels and men before. While we were watching some horses racing over wild, open country in their joyful freedom, our guide pointed toward the horizon, saying:
“As you are so near the Circles of Acting and Singing, why not visit them now.”
I gazed toward the distant blue hills with an amused smile. “Did you say ‘so near’?” The angel laughed.
“Well, according to earth-standards, perhaps a four days’ walk away, but here-”
“Yes, we agree, really. It only conjured up a memory.”
“Of blissful roamings on earth?” the angel queried. “Yet you can enjoy that too, if you will. It would take you quite four days to reach those hills, walking through the heather.”
“Perhaps we will do that one day,” Janet put in (for we still spoke, sometimes, as though we were in limited time instead of unlimited eternity.) “Just now I feel as though our vacation were drawing to a close, as though the search for wisdom is calling us again.”
“It is,” the angel said smilingly. “When you reach the Circle of Prayer you will know.”
He clasped our shoulders in a friendly farewell before sending us off on our swift journey toward the hills. Our soft, brown robes flowing behind us as we sped on our way, and we lifted our faces gladly to the keen, high breeze.
The first to welcome us in the Circle of Acting, was Elizabeth. She came swinging towards us in her graceful, misty-blue gown (reminding me of the hills we had seen while we stood with our angel guide so short a time before).
“How fortunate,” I said, taking one of her outstretched hands, “that this Circle is next to that of the Lesser Brethren;”
“It is no accident,” Elizabeth assured us. She linked arms with us and began to lead us over the heather and up the hillside. “The lesser brethren are often needed as actors here, and they love to visit us during their roamings.”
“Actors!” Janet laughed. “Do they have to learn parts?”
“In a way-yes.” Elizabeth gave Janet’s arm a squeeze. “So don’t be naughty, Janet, and soon you will see for yourself.”
Up the hillside we went, walking with that free, light stride so characteristic of Heaven’s realm. Presently we came to one of the little “stages” formed from the natural surroundings, similar to those used in the children’s play. Here, many people were acting while angels coached them, and I learned by “reaching out” for the information that this group were to give a performance in the Hall of Friends.
Elizabeth triumphantly pointed out one of the lesser brethren a small actor who was very popular. His part appeared to be a portrayal of doggie welcome. When one of the men walked on to the stage, the little dog would run toward him with swift-waving tail and a bark of joy. Then he would put his two paws against the man’s knees and look up lovingly. The man took some time to perfect his part, but with his repeated entry the small dog came forward faithfully. We could see he was enjoying himself and felt quite important. Perhaps this feeling was enhanced by one of the angels who fed him between his “turns” with pieces of biscuit-fruit.
“There!” said Elizabeth.
We walked on and saw many of these little “companies”. Sometimes we would see an actor practising his “lines” alone, muttering to himself as he paced up and down between the trees. Once we came upon a group who were gathered round a single actress, and Elizabeth whispered:
“See how absorbed they are. Her name was known throughout the length and breadth of earth and she has just arrived to give her services here. We are delighted to have such an accomplished artist. She is but newly Purple-gowned.”
“Why do they give so many plays?” Janet asked. “Is it to make the people happy or to teach them?”
“Both,” Elizabeth explained. “Many of the Halls have visits from these actors. Each time a play is chosen that will teach something of the Father’s Love or His merciful provision for men. These plays give intense pleasure to the actors and audience, too.”
We spent a long time travelling among the different “stages” and settings, or listening to some of the famous actors from earth. In our journeyings we climbed many hills and descended into numerous valleys, enjoying the almost forgotten sensation of walking among the heather-for this grew everywhere. At last, as we reached the fringe of a wood, an angel stood before us saying: “Welcome to the Circle of Singing !”