Synopsis: Beautiful Grace loves her life on the High Places. She lives with the Shepherd and her lovely handmaids Peace and Joy. But when she looks down to the Valley of Humiliation and sees her Fearing relatives struggling just to survive, she knows she must do something to help them. With the help of the Shepherd, Grace sets out to show them the life that has been given to her. What ensues is a thrilling and touching sequel to High Places.
Based on The Mountains Of Spices by Hannah Hurnard
Running time: Approximately 50 mintues
Play Type: Allegory
Cost: Free to be used for the glory of God.
Read the entire play below!
Return to the High Places
By Rose Holman
Based on the book by Hannah Hurnard
Grace: Female. Beautiful. Confident. Loving. Has the gift of speaking the truth into another’s life in love.
Shepherd: Male. Tall. Brave. Strong. Kind.
Valiant: Female. Kind. She helps all around her, but sometimes she says things she wishes she could take back.
Peace: Female. Handmaid to Grace. Sweet. Follows easily.
Joy: Female. Handmaid to Grace. More often than not the one to quietly lead. Gentle.
() this denotes that they will have a name change in the course of the play and what it will be.
Aunt Dismal (Thanksgiving): Older Female. At first she is mean and hates life. Then the Shepherd
changes her to become a worshipful follower.
Gloomy (Praise): Female. Aunt Dismal’s daughter. Always thinks that the worst will happen. But after she too meets the Shepherd, she is changed into daughter of the King who is positive about life.
Spiteful (Compassion): Female. Sickly. Pale. Mean at first. Yet she too after meeting the Shepherd becomes a different person eager to help others.
Bitterness (Strength): Male. Thoughtful. Easily swayed. Dissatisfied with life. But after his livelihood is taken away he follows the Shepherd.
Murmuring: Female. Bossy. Self-righteous. Mean.
Craven (Fearless): Male. The time in jail has broken his pride. He is now nervous and doesn’t know who to act around others. Then the Shepherd changes him.
Moody: Male. Spiteful’s husband. Repentant and wants to change his former ways, but he’s still new at it.
Mood Music: Live For You by Rachel Lampa
[Lights up. The High Places. Middle ages. Grace and Glory speaks from off stage.]
Grace: Ahhh, the High Places. I have loved them ever since they became my home over five years ago. It has been told in another story how I set out on a journey to this lovely place. It was hard and dangerous, but the joy I have now is worth it. I received a new name and became stronger. The best part of the High Places is that I get to have fellowship with the Shepherd Himself.
[Have Shepherd, Grace and Glory, Peace, and Joy enter. They talk pleasantly among themselves. Grace and Glory talks with the Shepherd. Peace and Joy follow behind Grace and Glory helping her. Still have Grace and Glory talk from off stage. (A recording of this first would be an easy way to make this work).]
Grace: Then one day I looked down [Grace and Glory looks out over the audience and points her finger and continues to talk to the Shepherd] and saw the Valley of Humiliation where I used to live. My heart began to ache for my Fearing relatives; they were so trapped and alone. I wanted to help them. [Grace and Glory smiles] When I expressed this wish to the Shepherd, He encouraged me to go and tell the Fearings about the joy of the High Places. [All exit through the audience] So we made our way back down to the Valley. Joy filled me. At last I would be able to share with them of what had happened.
Song: Day of Freedom by Rachel Lampa
Grace: I thought I was ready for anything. Little did I know how much had changed in the Valley since I had left.
[At Aunt Dismal’s house. The house is dusty and run down. Aunt Dismal sits poking the fire in drab, worn clothes. There is a knock at the door.]
Aunt Dismal: [Sulkily] Come in.
Valiant: Dismal, how are you today?
Aunt Dismal: Valiant, please hurry in and close the door.
Valiant: But it’s such a pleasant day outside. And this house …
Aunt Dismal: The air is bad for me! Close the door!
Valiant: [Comes in] Very well. I just thought that you might like some of the wonderful summer air.
Everything is so alive out there. The birds are singing. The flowers are blooming. It’s lovely.
Aunt Dismal: It won’t do me any good.
Valiant: Dismal, please at least let me open a window or something in this dreary house. I’m sure that the fumes from that fire are so harmful. Why not open the house and go out for a while?
Aunt Dismal: NO! I can’t go out today! My almanac tells me that this is a day of trouble and sorrow. I’m told not to venture out today.
Valiant: What almanac?
Aunt Dismal: The one on the table. It tells me everything I need to know.
[Valiant glances at the almanac on the table]
Valiant: You don’t really take this stuff to heart, do you? These are full of lies to prey on the stupid and fearful. Please let me throw it in the fire.
Aunt Dismal: You will not! You think I’m stupid and foolish, but really I am wise.
Valiant: [Laughs] You think you are wise, but all such dismal prophecies are foolish.
Aunt Dismal: So nothing I do really matters to you does it?! Well, Valiant, I will tell you that I serve a vital purpose in this town. I tell of trouble and hardship.
Valiant: You are a dismal old woman who refuses to be anything else. You hate everything and everyone. Please Dismal, at least face who you really are.
[Dismal is so offended by this speech that she turns her back to Valiant. Valiant realizes that she shouldn’t have been so blunt. She goes over and tries to comfort Dismal.]
Valiant: I’m sorry, Dismal dear. I shouldn’t have said that. My greatest wish is that I could take you out of this dreary house and make you happy. You are always so hurt and alone.
Aunt Dismal: [Angrily] How could I be anything else? I’ve been widowed for many years, my children are a disgrace, the entire Fearing clan is against me, the town thinks I’m nothing but I silly old woman, and you hate me.
Valiant: I don’t hate you.
Aunt Dismal: You just said I was a hateful person.
Valiant: Dismal, please I …
Aunt Dismal: At least you have a strong husband and family to support you. I have no one! Everyone has left me.
[Pause. Dismal turns her back on Valiant as if she hopes that she will leave.]
Valiant: Not everyone. I am still here and I have just remembered the reason that I came. You will never guess what has happened. It is so amazing and wonderful.
Aunt Dismal: Whatever it is, I don’t care. Nothing good can happen today.
Valiant: Please listen to me dear. If you will only listen I’m sure that you will be cheered. It’s about Much-Afraid. She has returned. She came back only this morning. You should see her. She is a cripple no longer, but tall and strong. You wouldn’t be able to recognize her she is so changed. And her friends, they are beautiful. She brought them from the High Places. The best thing is, she has a new name. Her name is Grace and Glory.
Aunt Dismal: Much-Afraid? Changed? Hah!
Valiant: It’s true. She is quite different from the girl you brought up. She has become a beautiful woman. I was wondering if you could help me. I am planning a small party to welcome Grace and Glory back to the Valley. Would you come and join in the party? I’m sure you would feel better.
Aunt Dismal: As I have already told you Valiant, I won’t go out today. And as for Much-Afraid, I don’t wish to see her. She spurned everything I gave her and ran off with that Shepherd. She is ungrateful and rude. I don’t want anything to do with her or with that Shepherd.
Valiant: Dismal …
Aunt Dismal: [Interrupts] I don’t want to hear anymore. I don’t care and I won’t leave. So you had best get to your party. Good-bye.
[Pause. Valiant looks at her for a moment and then turns to leave. Valiant meets Grace and Glory on the threshold.]
Valiant: Grace and Glory. Have you come to see your Aunt?
Grace: Yes. How is she?
Valiant: Not well. She has been shut up in her house for so long. I fear for her.
Grace: I will go and talk to her.
Valiant: I don’t know if that’s wise. She said she didn’t want to see you.
Grace: I expected as much. Don’t worry. I will do what I can.
Valiant: I have to head home. You can meet me there.
Grace: Very well. The Shepherd be with you.
Valiant: And with you.
[Valiant exits. Grace enters the house.]
Grace: Aunt Dismal?
[Aunt Dismal doesn’t respond. Grace goes over to her and tries to kiss her. Aunt Dismal flicks her
Aunt Dismal: There’s no need for you to act all nice around me, Much-Afraid. You don’t have to kiss me.
[Grace is a little saddened, but still presses on hopefully]
Grace: I know just how you feel Aunt. I was sadly lacking in love when I was here. I didn’t pay much attention to your wishes back then. I was wrong. But that is all changed now. As you can see I am completely changed. I also have a new name and I hope a new nature.
Aunt Dismal: Humph. So I heard from Valiant. But I cannot forget what you were. To me you will always be Much-Afraid.
Grace: You can call me that if you wish. Yet Grace is a much easier and much shorter name to say and it describes everything that has happened to me. Oh, Aunt, I feel such joy and peace. You cannot believe. Can’t I persuade you to give up all this misery and turn to Shepherd?
Aunt Dismal: [Becoming angry] No! Don’t you start that! We have had nothing but trouble since you were in that man’s service. Ever since you left the family, things have gone from bad to worse. Everything is against us and it’s all your fault. After all that we did for you! And that Shepherd is the reason that Craven is in prison.
Grace: Craven is in prison? Why?
Aunt Dismal: He was framed by the Shepherd!
Grace: The Shepherd would never do that.
Aunt Dismal: Oh no? He was charged with drunkenness! My Craven! My poor boy would never do anything so harsh and mean. He is …
Grace: Aunt Dismal, Craven is mean and has many destructive habits. You have never kept him in check and he is only bearing the consciences of his own actions.
Aunt Dismal: How can you say such things about your own cousin?!
Grace: Because I know him.
Aunt Dismal: So this is what the Shepherd taught you? To turn on your family and shoot them when they are down.
Grace: The Shepherd taught me only what is good and right.
Aunt Dismal: Well, I want nothing to do with Him. So you may leave now as well.
[Aunt Dismal turns her back to her. Grace thinks a moment.]
Grace: Before I go, may I see Spiteful and Gloomy?
Aunt Dismal: If you want to see them you need to go to the Bitterness’ inn.
Grace: Why are they there?
[Aunt Dismal turns around hotly]
Aunt Dismal: Because they had nowhere else to go. Spiteful married a drunk who beat her one night half to death. He was put in jail and Spiteful is so sick that she can’t move. Gloomy didn’t want to be outdone by her sister so she married a young and seemingly good man. They were settled happily enough, or so we thought. Then one night he left her, taking all of her money. They both moved into Bitterness’ attic.
Grace: They are both alone?
Aunt Dismal: Yes and it’s all you fault!
Grace: Aunt, you know that that isn’t true.
Aunt Dismal: No? We are now so disgraced that we can’t show ourselves in good company. And what have you been doing? Avoiding us! You were selfish and heartless. Yes, it is all your fault. Now you can get out.
Grace: I will leave, but I would love to come visit you again. I want to atone for some of the mistakes that I made in the past. Please say that I can come again?
Aunt Dismal: You have chosen and gone your own way, Much-Afraid. We have had enough trouble and heartache from you. I don’t wish any more. You needn’t trouble yourself to ever come back. Now if you don’t mind I have some work to do.
[Aunt Dismal turns and exits. Grace stands there a moment dazed.]
Grace: And I thought that she would be happy to see me.
[Lights up. Valiant’s house. Valiant bustles around getting things ready for the party for Grace and Glory. Enter Peace and Joy.]
Valiant: Peace, Joy, thank you so much for helping me. It’s not often that we have the Shepherd Himself and one of His princesses come to the Valley. I wanted to make sure they felt welcomed.
Joy: It’s no trouble. We are here to serve.
[Peace and Joy arrange flowers on the table and clean the room. The three talk as they work.]
Peace: Where is Grace?
Valiant: She went to see her Aunt Dismal.
Joy: Do you know when she will be back?
Valiant: It depends on how well things go at Dismal’s. She has been in a particularly bad mood the past few days. I don’t think that she will respond to Grace.
Peace: You never know. Grace is no longer the terrified Much-Afraid that left this valley five years ago.
Joy: It is true. She has been changed by the Shepherd. Do you remember, Peace, when we were still Sorrow and Suffering?
Peace: [Laughs] Yes. Much-Afraid, as Grace was called back then, nearly turned back to the valley when she saw us.
Joy: But I’m so glad she didn’t. It was a hard journey up to the High Places. But we all changed.
Valiant: Grace especially. I would hardly know her, she is so changed. I look forward to hearing the whole story of your journey to the High Places.
[Joy looks out the window and sees Grace coming]
Joy: She’s coming! Quick!
[All hurry to finish. Grace and Glory enters.]
Valiant, Peace, and Joy: Surprise!
Grace: [Surprised] What’s all this?
Valiant: I wanted to throw you a party to celebrate your return.
Grace: [With a touch of sadness in her voice] Thank you.
Valiant: You don’t seem very happy.
Grace: It’s not the party. It’s lovely. But Aunt Dismal.
Valiant: How did things go?
Grace: She doesn’t want anything to do with me. She told me not to trouble myself to ever see her again.
Valiant: That’s Dismal. She keeps telling me the same thing, dear. Stubbornness and misery are in her nature. I have tried to help her, and she hasn’t listened.
Grace: But I wanted to help her.
Valiant: What makes you think that you will be any more effective than me?
Grace: I am her family, her own niece. I thought that she would listen.
Valiant: Grace, dear, you have changed much since you left us. It irks her that you, her own niece, would become so beautiful and strong when she is so miserable. She knows that she has to go through the Shepherd to get healing, but she refuses. So it’s easier to be angry at you than to admit that.
Grace: But how then am I supposed to help her?
Valiant: Keep loving her. Keep showing her the same love that you have been shown.
Grace: How do I do that? How do I love her?
Valiant: Oh, no. That’s not for me to answer. You have to find that out from the Shepherd.
Grace: The Shepherd. Yes, He promised that He would teach me what to say to them. If I call to Him, He can come and help me.
Valiant: Don’t worry dear. He is coming here. I invited Him to the party. He should be here any minute.
[Grace and Glory hugs Valiant]
Grace: Thank you Valiant. I will ask Him tonight.
Joy: Well, if we want to be ready we had best put our bags in the next room.
Valiant: Yes, Peace would you and Joy take your bags into the bedroom.
Peace: With pleasure.
[Peace and Joy take the bags into the next room]
Grace: They are so helpful to me. I don’t know what I would do without them.
Valiant: And they are so beautiful. I couldn’t believe that you had such lovely handmaids.
Grace: The Shepherd is very gracious. I can’t believe how kind He was to me.
Valiant: It’s good to have you back. I know that things have been a little disappointing here to start, but I’m glad you came back.
Grace: Thank you. I’m glad to be back.
[Joy and Peace enter excitedly]
Joy: The Shepherd is here!
Peace: He is at the front door!
Valiant: I think everything is ready. Open the door.
[Joy runs over to the door and opens it. The Shepherd Enters. All bow to Him.]
Shepherd: Rise. Let the party begin!
Valiant: Thank you so much for coming.
Shepherd: I was happy to come. Valiant, you are looking well.
[Grace and Glory steps forward]
Grace: Shepherd, it’s good to see you.
Shepherd: Hello, Grace.
Valiant: I am happy to have my old friends here. I have missed them.
Joy: It’s so good to be able to begin work down here in the Valley.
[Valiant pours tea for everyone]
Valiant: Here I have tea for everyone.
[All go and get teacups. Valiant raises her cup.]
Valiant: To Grace and Glory’s return!
Peace and Joy: To Grace!
Grace: To the Shepherd.
All: To the Shepherd!
Valiant: But what’s a party without a little music? [Start music] Grace would you sing for us?
Song: Live for You by Rachel Lampa
Grace: Whew. That was wonderful, Valiant. Thank you for hosting this.
Valiant: Any time. [Yawns] I need to get to bed now. I’m older and need my sleep.
Grace: Okay. I’ll see you in the morning.
Valiant: Will you and your handmaids be fine?
Grace: Yes, we can take care of ourselves. You have a good night’s sleep.
Valiant: I’ll try. Good night all.
Joy: We had better get to bed too. It’s been a long day.
Peace: Shall we wait up for you, Grace?
Grace: No. You go to bed. I’ll join you soon.
[Peace and Joy bow their heads to the Shepherd and then exit]
Shepherd: They seem happy.
Grace: Peace and Joy? Oh, yes. I suppose.
Shepherd: Suppose? Don’t you see that they love serving you?
Grace: I guess they do. Though I wish that my family would be as happy.
Shepherd: I take it things didn’t go well today.
Grace: It was horrible. Aunt Dismal hates me. She says that I’m to blame for everything that has happened since I left and that she never wants to see me again. I wasn’t even able to tell her about you and all the joy of the High Places.
Shepherd: Don’t take this to heart. She is stubborn and harsh. Blaming others has become second nature to her.
Grace: But I tried to help her. Now she never wants to see me again.
Shepherd: She has said the same thing to Valiant many times. Yet Valiant doesn’t take this to heart and keeps on trying to break through the walls that Dismal has built.
Grace: But I thought that it would break through those walls. I thought that she would be so happy to see me that I could begin to help her at once.
Shepherd: Ah, so this is why you are so downhearted. You thought it would be easy. You thought that you would be able to show up and begin helping everyone to the High Places right away.
Grace: Was I wrong? I thought that they would be glad to see me. Instead I meet cold shoulders.
Shepherd: Do you think that you can undo years of wrong in one day? [Pause] No, dear Grace. You aren’t able to break through to them unless they are ready.
Grace: Then what is the good of me being here if I can’t help them? I thought that you said that I would be your voice to them.
Shepherd: You are my voice to them. You are meant to point them to me. You, my dear Grace, are to help them be ready to receive my help.
Grace: But how?
Shepherd: By loving them as I have loved you.
Grace: How do I do that?
Shepherd: [Smiles] That is what I am going to teach you. Now your second journey begins.
Grace: Second journey? What second journey?
Shepherd: The journey to learn to love and to find out what your gift is. Everyone has to learn to love, even those who are unlovable. As you learn to love, you will find out what your gifts are.
Grace: Shepherd, please take me on this journey. I want to learn to love my Fearing relatives. Please teach me.
Shepherd: Do you remember the day some weeks ago when we were walking through the gardens and I pointed out the Mountains of Spices?
Grace: Yes. They were lovely. The most beautiful mountains I had ever seen.
Shepherd: They are my favorite mountains. I grow my choicest fruits and spices on them. [Reaches into his bag and pulls out some Pomegranates. He hands them to Grace and Glory] Here, look.
Grace: [Takes the fruit and examines it] It’s beautiful. [Smells the fruit] And smells wonderful.
Shepherd: Of all fruits, pomegranates are my favorite. They come from a tall shady tree. The flowers too are lovely. And the fruit can be made into a refreshing drink.
Grace: It sounds beautiful.
Shepherd: Yet all is not well. From this mountain you can see another mountain, black and ugly.
Grace: What happened to this other mountain?
Shepherd: At one time we planted grapevines on it. It was going to be the loveliest of all the vineyards. But sadly wild vines grew. Our enemy came and sowed bad seed and choked out the good vines. We tried to save the good vines, but nothing we did worked. So we set fire to the mountain. In plain sight, it remains a burning ember of the mountain that it once was.
Grace: Is there no hope for it?
Shepherd: Of course. One day we will go and replant vines when the mountain is ready.
[Pause. Grace thinks.]
Grace: But Shepherd, why do you leave this mountain as ugly as it is in the plain sight of your favorite mountain?
Shepherd: It serves as a lesson. Love stands in the face of all that is ugly and horrible and loves anyway. People are sinful and selfish, but loves keeps on loving and giving.
Grace: You’re talking about me and my relatives aren’t you?
Shepherd: Yes. I know today didn’t go as you had hoped. But keep loving the Fearings. You may not see the fruit at first, but keep on loving them and you will.
[Pause. Grace looks at the fruit thoughtfully.]
Grace: I will. Thank you for coming.
Shepherd: I will be here anytime you need me. I must go now. Good-bye.
[Shepherd exits. Grace and Glory stares after him and then down at the fruit. Lights down.]
[Lights up. In the dark and gloomy attic, Spiteful lays on a bed moaning in pain. Gloomy sits beside her.]
Gloomy: I should have known that it would all turn out bad. We should have never married, Spiteful. Now look where we are.
[In response Spiteful moans from the bed. For a moment Gloomy does nothing. But then she reaches out and puts her hand on Spiteful’s hand. Then Murmuring enters abruptly carrying a basket of mending.]
Murmuring: Well, sloughing off I see. Here [hands Gloomy the basket] you can mend this. I am getting sick of giving you two a free room.
Gloomy: Murmuring, Spiteful is sick. Can’t this [motioning to the basket in her hands] wait?
Murmuring: I don’t want to hear any more of your excuses, Gloomy. You can finish that by this evening or you won’t have a roof over your head!
[Murmuring leaves in a huff. Gloomy rolls her eyes.]
Gloomy: I hate this. [Throws the basket on the floor] I wish we could just leave, but …
[Knock at the door]
Gloomy: Who could it be? We weren’t expecting anyone. What …
Gloomy: Um. I … Spiteful. I …
[Enter Grace and Glory, Peace, and Joy. Gloomy is stands up and is stunned. Both stand staring at each other for a moment.]
Gloomy: Much-Afraid? What …
[Grace and Glory walks over to the bed and leans over Spiteful]
Grace: I’m here to help you. How long has she been here?
Gloomy: About a months. Why did …
Grace: Gloomy, help me sit her up. I have something that will help her. [Takes and squeezes one of
Gloomy’s hands] It is so good to see both of you. [Gives Gloomy a smile]
[Gloomy helps Grace sit Spiteful up. Grace reaches into her bag and pulls out the bottle of the cordial of the Spirit. She puts a few drops into Spiteful’s mouth.]
Joy: Don’t worry, Gloomy. Come with us. Grace and Glory will take care of Spiteful.
[Peace and Joy take Gloomy and talk to her in a corner. Spiteful revives.]
Spiteful: [Weakly] Who are you?
Grace: Don’t you know me? I am your cousin.
Grace: Not any more. I am Grace and Glory now. I am so glad that you are still alive.
Spiteful: [Ashamed] Please go away. I don’t want to see you.
[Spiteful pulls the covers over her head. Grace and Glory gently pulls the covers back down.]
Grace: Spiteful, I’ve come to help you. I heard about what happened with your husband. I am so sorry. But believe me when I say that I don’t judge you. It’s easy to be deceived. You don’t know how many times my heart has gone out to you. Please let me help you.
Spiteful: [In a sad voice] Why? Why would you want to help me when I was to mean to you?
Grace: Maybe it’s because I’m not the girl that left here. I’ve changed.
[In the background, Peace and Joy have been spreading out food one a table. Gloomy looks about, wondering what to do.]
Peace: The food is ready.
Grace: Here, I’ll help you over to the table.
[Grace gets up and extends her hand to Spiteful. Spiteful looks at her for a moment, not sure. Then she takes her help and sits down at the table. Gloomy follows suit.]
Spiteful: Thank you.
Gloomy: But what about the mending. Murmuring will be so upset if we don’t get it done. And then what will become of us.
Grace: Relax, Gloomy. Peace and Joy will take care of it while we eat. Come. [Motions to the food]
[Spiteful, Gloomy, and Grace and Glory begin to eat. Pause. All three look at each other a little awkwardly at first. Peace and Joy sit in the corner mending clothes from the basket.]
Grace: Joy, Peace, and I picked these fruits just this morning in the King’s Garden. I wish you could go up
there. The air is so fresh and clean. It makes you happy to be alive.
Gloomy: Are they [motions to Peace and Joy] friends of yours?
Grace: [Smiles] Friends and handmaids. They go everywhere with me. At first they were Sorrow and Suffering.
Spiteful: So they are the two women I saw leaving with you to the High Places?
Grace: Yes, they too have been changed.
Gloomy: It’s hard to believe that you are Much-Afraid. You have changed so much.
Grace: I’m not the same girl that left you five years ago.
Spiteful: Was it a hard journey? I know that we sent some of our relatives after you.
Grace: It was hard. I had to watch myself at every turn so that they didn’t come and force me back. We
had to climb up steep rocks and I even got cut once.
Spiteful: What kept you going on? I would have turned back.
Grace: There were times when I thought of coming back. Going forward seemed impossible. But the
Shepherd helped me. He gave me strength for every difficulty.
Gloomy: Now you live on the High Places?
Grace: Yes. You can’t imagine the joy and peace that abide up there. It’s wonderful.
Gloomy: [With a sting in her voice] I’m glad someone is having a good time while we are all falling apart.
Spiteful: Be quiet, Gloomy. We need to face the facts that our way of living doesn’t work. The sooner that we reach out and take the help of the Shepherd the better.
Grace: It’s alright, Spiteful. I know that you have all been hurt deeply. That’s why I came. To see if I could help.
Gloomy: I don’t know how I could have been so foolish. My husband seemed to so nice. Now look where he has left me.
Spiteful: Moody changes when he gets drunk. He becomes uncontrollable. I wish there was some way I could make amends, but … [Doesn’t finish]
Grace: I am so sorry for both of you. I can’t imagine how hard it has been.
Gloomy: With Spiteful sick, Craven and Moody in jail, mother confined to the house, and Murmuring badgering us about chores, things have almost been unbearable. I don’t know what we are going to do.
Spiteful: I wish there was some way of escape. Some way that we could get out of this prison. I don’t know how much more of this I can take.
Grace: There is a way. It isn’t easy, but there is a way for you to get out of this horrible attic.
[There is a gentle knock at the door. Spiteful and Gloomy look at each other franticly and then at Grace and Glory]
Grace: Oh, Spiteful! Gloomy, it is the one that we have been talking about. It is the Shepherd. Please let Him in! Don’t delay. Let Him in!
[Spiteful and Gloomy look at each other in panic]
Gloomy: Let Him in here when we look like this?!
Spiteful: He would hate us and leave.
Grace: He loved me when I was Much-Afraid. He cares for you more than you know. Believe me. He is true love. Don’t shut Him out.
[A moment of silence. All seem frozen. Then slowly Gloomy moves to the door. She hesitates at the door, then opens it slowly. The Shepherd walks in.]
Shepherd: Finally. I am glad to be here.
Gloomy: Oh, Shepherd, I beg your mercy. [Kneels down before the Shepherd]
[Spiteful limps over to the Shepherd]
Spiteful: I too, beg your forgiveness. I have been wrong and stubborn. Please forgive me!
[The Shepherd reaches down and raises them both to their feet]
Shepherd: You have both been forgiven. Do not worry about the past. Today you begin life anew.
Spiteful: Thank you.
Gloomy: But how do we begin? We’ve both made so many bad choices.
Shepherd: For now take a walk in the cool air. I will come to you with more instructions when the time is right.
Spiteful: I’m still very weak. I don’t know if I can take a walk.
Grace: Peace and Joy can help. They can support you.
Spiteful: [Turns to Peace and Joy] You wouldn’t mind?
Joy: We don’t mind at all. Come on. Let’s go.
[Peace and Joy help Spiteful. Grace takes Gloomy’s hand and begins to walk toward the door.]
Spiteful: Shepherd, thank you.
Gloomy: Yes, thank you.
Shepherd: Come, you go for a walk. I will see you soon
Grace: You’re not coming right now?
Shepherd: As I have said. I will be along later.
[Grace nods. All but the Shepherd exit. The Shepherd looks around the room. Enter Bitterness.]
Bitterness: Excuse me. Are you the Shepherd?
Shepherd: I am.
Bitterness: I know you don’t know me. My name is Bitterness and I am the owner of this inn.
Shepherd: I have seen you before. You followed Much-Afraid to bring her back.
Bitterness: I am ashamed to say that I did. But now I want to talk with you. We have heard rumors about
you. I don’t know what to believe. I wanted to talk to you in person and find out the truth for myself.
Shepherd: [Motions to the table] Come, sit, and we can talk for a moment.
[Lights up. Valiant’s house. Grace cleans the room and hums to herself. Enter the Shepherd.]
Shepherd: You sound happy!
[Grace and Glory turns around. She smiles, stops cleaning, and goes over to the Shepherd.]
Grace: Shepherd, what are you doing here?
Shepherd: We are teaching you to love remember? And I have several people to visit.
Grace: Spiteful and Gloomy have never looked better. Thank you so much for helping them.
Shepherd: It is my joy to rescue marred souls and make them into something beautiful.
[Shepherd reaches into His bag and pulls out some Camphire blossoms]
Shepherd: I have brought these for you from the Mountain of Joy.
Grace: [Takes the blossoms] They are lovely. I’ve never seen such beautiful blossoms.
Shepherd: It takes hard work to make Camphire grow. After the seed is planted and has grown a little, we infuse the roots with a bitter substance. We also prune it and strip the plant before the winter rains and snows come. This is all so that when spring comes the plant will be even more fruitful. Indeed every spring they produce the blossoms of joy.
Grace: So if they had never been stripped bare and infused with bitter things, they would have never been able to bear the blossoms of joy?
Shepherd: Exactly. It’s the same way with your own life. Any hardship or pain that you experience is just another opportunity for you to have victory over it. And when the night is past, joy comes.
Grace: I remember well my own journey and how hard it was. The pain and suffering. But then I came to the joy of the High Places.
Shepherd: Remember this lesson, Grace and Glory. Down here in the Valley will be much pain and suffering. But love will overcome all of these things and turn it into joy.
Grace: I’ll remember.
Shepherd: I must go. I have several others that I must see. Good-bye for now.
Grace: Good-bye. I will see you later.
[Shepherd exits. Grace and Glory arranges the flowers in a vase on the table. Then there is a knock at the door.]
Grace: Come in.
[Aunt Dismal walks in]
Grace: Aunt Dismal! Good morning.
Aunt Dismal: If you say so.
Grace: I’m glad to see you. I regret that Valiant isn’t here. She went to market.
Aunt Dismal: I didn’t come to see Valiant. I came to see you. I heard what you did to Spiteful and Gloomy the other day.
Grace: Did to them? I only shared a meal with them and took them out for a walk.
Aunt Dismal: And where did that food come from?
Grace: From the High Places. We …
Aunt Dismal: [Interrupts] I thought as much. Well, maybe they are in the habit of accepting charity, but I came to repay you. [Pulls out a purse and begins to count money]
Grace: You don’t need to do that. [Gently pushes the money back into the purse] It cost me nothing, so you don’t need to give me anything.
Aunt Dismal: I am not going to let it be said that my daughters are taking help from the Shepherd. Here!
[She extends several coins to Grace and Glory] This should cover your trouble.
[Grace and Glory doesn’t take the coins, but gently pushes her Aunt’s hand away]
Grace: I can’t accept payment for that which cost me nothing. I won’t take your money.
Aunt Dismal: You are my niece! It’s not your place to refuse anything I say. Take this money.
Grace: I won’t. I may still be your niece, but now I am a part of the royal family. And say a part of that family I can take this.
Aunt Dismal: So we don’t matter anymore? You have no respect for your family anymore?
Grace: My respect belongs to the Shepherd. But I have only love for you and love doesn’t accept payment for gifts.
Aunt Dismal: Well, miss high and mighty, you may fancy yourself to be all great and wonderful, but I’m not fooled. You are trying to destroy our family and I will not stand by and watch.
[Dismal turns to leave. Grace and Glory stops her.]
Grace: Aunt Dismal. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I only want to help you. I want you to turn to the Shepherd and leave this miserable place. Don’t you see, Aunt? I care about you! I love you. Why can’t you see that?
[Aunt Dismal frees herself and stands there staring for a moment. Then she leaves angrily. Grace and Glory covers her face with her hands.]
Grace: [To herself] Shepherd, please reach out and touch her life. She is so lost and alone. Please help her.
[Enter Peace and Joy. They immediately begin to comfort Grace and Glory.]
Joy: Are you well?
Grace: I’m sorry. Aunt Dismal was just here. She was mad with what we did for Spiteful and Gloomy.
Peace: Don’t worry. One day she will see that you love her.
[Grace and Glory smiles and nods. Then she hugs Peace and Joy closer to her. Lights down]
[Lights up. The Town Square. Murmuring walks with a basket shopping. Enter Bitterness.]
Murmuring: Now we need bread and some more dates.
[Murmuring busies herself. Bitterness follows her, but he is lost in thought.]
Murmuring: Bitterness, did you make sure that the front room on the second story got clean last night?
[Bitterness doesn’t answer for a moment]
Bitterness: I’m sorry; what did you say?
Murmuring: Never mind. I wasn’t saying anything. Not that you would hear anyway. You have been lost in your own little world lately.
Bitterness: There has been a lot to think about.
Murmuring: I should say so. What about the Shepherd making visits to sickly Spiteful and her pathetic sister Gloomy?
Murmuring: Didn’t you hear me? I asked you a question.
Bitterness: [His words are calm and firm] I don’t suppose there is any harm.
Murmuring: Oh, you do, do you? What if word gets out that he comes here? He’ll scare our customers and ruin our good business.
Bitterness: Very little chance of that happening. He never forces Himself on anyone.
Murmuring: Still, people will talk. They might say that we are coming under his influence. I tell you I don’t like it. Just think about your cousin Much-Afraid. The Shepherd conned her into leaving everything and running off to the mountains. Remember how incensed all of you were. No! We cannot afford to come under suspicion.
Bitterness: [In an even voice] No one can deny that my cousin has been most fortunate. If anything, she is to be envied.
Murmuring: [Angrily] Indeed. How can you say that? Didn’t you and several others chase after her to bring her back? And as I recall she threw stones at you. What of Pride? The Shepherd hit him so hard that now he is crippled for life.
Bitterness: We were trying to kidnap her. It was her only means of self-defense. When I think of her situation now and what it might have been if we had succeeded, I think she is one of the most fortunate people alive. If the Shepherd can do the same for the poor women upstairs I am happy for them.
Murmuring: [Going very frustrated] What has come over you? Ever since you came back from the mountains, you haven’t been the same.
Bitterness: You’re right. No one can be the same after a journey like that.
Murmuring: Be that as it may, if that Shepherd continues to visit our inn, we will be ruined!
Bitterness: [Bitterness makes eye contact with his wife] Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn’t be better if the cursed business was ruined.
[Pause. Then realization comes over Murmuring. She turns and looks straight at Bitterness]
Murmuring: You have been talking to that Shepherd haven’t you? [Bitterness turns away] You have! You would let Him wind you around His finger until you want to take bread out of your family’s mouth. You would ruin the most prosperous and respectable inn and tavern in the Valley?! Really, Bitterness! That is cruel.
Bitterness: Oh, yes, look at all the success that we have had. Your brother gets drunk in our bar and beats his wife nearly to death. My cousin Craven getting drunk and causing fights in the village. Yes, look at all the wonderful success we have had. This respectable business as you call it is nothing more than an encourager of evil.
Murmuring: It’s the Shepherd that has been putting those thoughts into your head, isn’t it? [Bitterness nods] What else has He been telling you?
Bitterness: He says that we will never know true peace until we sell the inn altogether.
Murmuring: It knew it! He wants us to give up everything we have worked for all these years. And what, pray, does He offer us in return?
Bitterness: To take us into His service. And …
Murmuring: Oh, so He wants to make shepherds out of us. Ridiculous!
Bitterness: Murmuring, I …
Shepherd: Bitterness. I had hoped to find you here. Can we talk?
Bitterness: Of course.
[Murmuring is stunned, but quickly regains her composure]
Shepherd: Have you been thinking about what we talked about last time?
Bitterness: Yes, that is what my wife and I were discussing just now.
Murmuring: It is out of the question. We can’t enter your service.
Shepherd: It is hard for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Love.
Murmuring: How so?
Shepherd: You cannot serve both God and money. The two are at war with each other.
Murmuring: Now I think that you being very unfair. Look at me, I give generously to the poor. We have brought up respectable children. We have done everything right. Our love for God is clear to all.
Shepherd: It’s not clear to Spiteful. If you really knew anything about love, you wouldn’t leave her in that suffocating attic relying on others for food.
Murmuring: She has been lying there for months unable to do anything. I haven’t turned her out into the street, even though she can’t pay any rent. Am I supposed to feed her like a princess while she has brought nothing but trouble for our house?
Shepherd: You know the answer to that yourself.
Murmuring: So you are asking me to throw everything away that we have worked for?
Shepherd: Yes, before it destroys you completely.
Murmuring: NO! I won’t! I can’t give it up.
Shepherd: Again, I tell you. It is hard for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Love. [Pause. Then the Shepherd looks at Bitterness.] What about you, Bitterness? Will you follow me?
Bitterness: I …
[Murmuring clings to Bitterness]
Murmuring: No! You can’t go. Think of your family. Your business. Your friends.
Bitterness: It’s too impossible. I can’t just leave everything.
Shepherd: What is impossible for you is possible in the Kingdom of Love.
Murmuring: No. We need to go home and be done with this whole mess. Good day.
[The Shepherd beckons Bitterness to follow Him. Murmuring motions for Bitterness to come home. For a moment Bitterness hesitates not sure of which way to go. But then he begins to walk home with Murmuring.]
Bitterness: I am sorry, but I can’t leave.
[Exit Bitterness and Murmuring. The Shepherd stares after them. Enter a weary looking Aunt Dismal.]
Aunt Dismal: Excuse me.
[Shepherd turns to see a cowing Aunt Dismal behind Him]
Aunt Dismal: Are you the Shepherd?
Shepherd: I am.
Aunt Dismal: Shepherd, I don’t even know where to begin. I have done so much wrong.
Shepherd: Admitting you are wrong is the first step. Come let’s go to your house and talk there. A storm is coming.
[Aunt Dismal hesitates only a moment]
Aunt Dismal: Come, it’s this way.
[Exit Aunt Dismal and Shepherd. Lights down.]
[Valiant’s House. Grace and Glory, Peace, and Joy sit sewing.]
Grace: I wonder how much longer it will take me to discover my gifts.
Joy: Rest easy, Grace. All will be revealed soon enough.
Grace: I know, yet sometimes I feel like I work and give with no clear goal in mind.
Peace: That’s where faith comes in.
Grace: You’re right. I’ll just have to wait.
Shepherd: Did I hear my name?
[Grace stands and is delighted to see the Shepherd]
Grace: Shepherd. It’s so good to see you again.
Joy: We had better go. We have some things to do.
Grace: You don’t have to go.
Peace: No, no. We’ll let you two talk.
[Exit Peace and Joy]
Grace: They are wonderful! I couldn’t have asked for better handmaids.
Shepherd: They are two of the very best handmaids. How are things going here?
Grace: I don’t know. My aunt Dismal still will hardly speak to me. Spiteful and Gloomy are still living in the attic unsure of what to do. I fear Spiteful has taken a turn for the worse. She is getting weaker. I don’t know what to do. I was hoping that you would tell me the next step.
Shepherd: Shall we continue our lessons in love?
Grace: I suppose.
[The Shepherd reaches into His bag and pulls out a bouquet of Saffron. Grace takes them.]
Grace: They are the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen. Even more beautiful than the blossoms you brought last time.
Shepherd: They are Saffron flowers. They grow on the mountain of long-suffering. When we walk on this mountain we will step on these lovely flowers. Yet once they are stepped on the flowers spring back up. They give themselves to be stepped on and then they rise again. Just as love gives itself to suffer and then continues to love anyway.
Grace: But must love suffer? If it must suffer why does it have to suffer long?
Shepherd: Suffering is a part of this world. If we suffer in love we show others our love for them. Love that goes half way is no love at all. Love that suffers long is true love. It’s the kind of love that, even after it has been stepped on and hurt, chooses to keep giving and loving.
Grace: So I must press on. Keep loving and working. Only then will I cultivate long-suffering love?
Shepherd: Yes. Remember this lesson well. There are more tests ahead, Grace and Glory. You must put into practice what you have learned.
Grace: I will. My Lord, when will I find out what my gifts are? I feel like they are so close, yet I can’t see them.
Shepherd: Be patient, Grace. You still have more to do. Wait and see.
Grace: Very well. I’ll do as you say.
Shepherd: I must go now. Spiteful needs my help.
Grace: Thank you for coming. I hope to see you soon.
Shepherd: You will. Good-bye.
[Exit Shepherd. Grace goes back and picks up some sewing. Valiant enters excitedly.]
Valiant: Grace you will never believe what has happened!
Grace: What happened?
Valiant: She is coming this way. [Points toward the door] I couldn’t believe what I saw.
Grace: Who is coming?
[Valiant looks out the window]
Valiant: It’s a miracle.
[Grace is getting frustrated]
Grace: Valiant, who and what is going on?
Valiant: See for yourself. [Motions for Grace and Glory to come to the door]
[Enter Aunt Dismal wearing a brightly embroidered shawl.]
Grace: [Surprised] Aunt Dismal?
[Aunt Dismal smiles and hugs Grace and Glory]
Aunt Dismal: Hello, Grace and Glory.
Grace: Is it you? You are so beautiful and lovely.
Aunt Dismal: It’s me – Aunt Dismal.
Grace: I can’t believe it.
Valiant: Dismal, where did you get such a lovely shawl?
Aunt Dismal: From the Shepherd. He gave it to me yesterday when He came into my house.
Grace: You have been talking to the Shepherd?
Aunt Dismal: More than that. He has taken me into His service, old and dreary as I am. He has done so much for me in this short time. I can’t believe it. He even gave me this lovely garment. It’s called the garment of praise. He said that I should wear it always. [Laughs] He knows me well. I would put such a lovely garment on a shelf to admire.
Valiant: It is wonderful. Come let’s get some tea and celebrate.
[Valiant turns, but Aunt Dismal’s voice stops her]
Aunt Dismal: Wait! Before you go, I must say something to you both. Grace, Valiant, I know that I have been mean to you both in the past. I have resisted your love and spurned your help. But thank you for loving me anyway. I wouldn’t have accepted the Shepherd’s help otherwise. Can you ever forgive me? [Looks pleadingly at Valiant and Grace]
Valiant: Of course I will.
Grace: With all of my heart. I am so happy for you, dear Aunt.
[Valiant and Grace hug Dismal]
Valiant: Now it’s time for me to make the tea.
[Valiant goes off to make some tea. Enter Peace and Joy.]
Aunt Dismal: Are these your friends Grace and Glory?
Grace: Yes. Here, this is Peace [Points] and this is Joy [Points]. They are my handmaids and friends. And you can just call me Grace, everyone does.
Aunt Dismal: All right, Grace. The report I heard was true. They are beautiful.
Joy: Thank you. Oh, come Peace; we need to clear away this mending.
[Peace and Joy begin to clean up]
Aunt Dismal: I see they are very helpful.
Grace: I don’t know what I would do without them. They are good friends as well.
[Enter Valiant with tea tray. All get teacups, sit down, and begin to sip tea.]
Grace: You look happy, Aunt.
Aunt Dismal: I am happy. I feel as though I have been transported into a whole new world. Although I don’t think I know the rules.
Grace: Don’t worry. You will learn, just as we did. The Shepherd will help you.
Aunt Dismal: I know, yet things seem so uncertain right now. I’m not sure of what I am supposed to do.
Valiant: Just wait for now.
Aunt Dismal: But what do I do in the meantime.
Grace: [Puts her hand comfortingly on her aunt’s shoulder] Don’t worry, Aunt. Let the Shepherd lead. He’ll help you, trust me.
Aunt Dismal: I only wish that …
[Enter Gloomy looking worried. All turn to see what’s wrong.]
Grace: Gloomy, have you come to join the party?
Gloomy: Not really. I came to tell mother that Self-Pity is sick.
Aunt Dismal: My cousin Self-Pity?
Gloomy: Yes. The doctor said that it was very serious. He has double pneumonia. He is confined to bed and can’t do anything. His wife is quite beside herself. She can’t seem to do anything to make him get better. Self-Pity himself fears that he’s going to die.
Valiant: How awful!
Grace: He is near death? He always seemed so healthy.
Aunt Dismal: And annoying sometimes.
Valiant: [Standing up with conviction] We must go and help them. Peace and Joy, go gather nursing things from my room. Grace, get some bread and fruit. We will need it.
Grace: You want me to come?
Valiant: Of course. You are so good at talking to people. I’m good at cooking and helping, but when it comes to soothing another, I’m lost. Now hurry. We haven’t got much time.
Grace: I’m on my way.
[Grace, Peace, and Joy scatter and gather things for Valiant]
Aunt Dismal: What are you going to do?
Valiant: What does it sound like? We are going to go help Self-Pity and his poor wife.
Aunt Dismal: But what about the danger? You could catch the pneumonia and get dreadfully sick yourself.
Valiant: I know the danger, but we have to help. This is the chance that we have been waiting for.
Gloomy: Chance? Chance for what?
Valiant: To help and tell them about the joy of the High Places.
Gloomy: You will probably all be shoved out the door.
Valiant: Be that as it may, we must try to help.
[Enter Grace and Glory, Peace, and Joy with bags]
Grace: Here, I think we have everything.
Valiant: Wonderful. Come let’s go.
Grace: This is so exciting! I can’t believe that finally we get to help them.
[Valiant, Grace, Peace, and Joy begin to walk out]
Valiant: Indeed. Today is a good day.
[They exit. Aunt Dismal and Gloomy look after them and then at each other.]
Gloomy: I wish that I could go to the High Places and receive a new name. Just think of it. They are so happy in helping.
Aunt Dismal: I wish I could too. But I am so old and feeble that I fear it is impossible. I could never make it.
Gloomy: I won’t go if you won’t. I’m not about to be left behind.
Aunt Dismal: Gloomy, you are young. You should go while there is still time.
Gloomy: No! I’m not leaving you. Plus I’m not worthy to go to the High Places.
[Pause. Aunt Dismal has an idea.]
Aunt Dismal: Wait. Wasn’t Grace once a poor cripple? She wasn’t worthy either.
Gloomy: [Slowly] Yes. You’re right.
Aunt Dismal: But when she went to the Shepherd, He transformed her into a strong and beautiful young woman. Maybe if we go to Him, He can help us too.
Gloomy: Yes. Let’s go. Surely we aren’t beyond all hope.
Aunt Dismal: But where would He be?
Gloomy: I know that He grazes His flock outside of town near a stream. Maybe we can find Him there.
[Gloomy and Aunt Dismal Exit. Lights down.]
[Lights up. The Attic. Spiteful sits on the bed looking at a letter. Enter Grace and Glory with a loaf of bread.]
Spiteful: Good morning. How are you?
Grace: I’m good. I came to bring you this bread. Did you hear about Self-Pity?
Spiteful: No what happened?
Grace: He got sick and we went to his house. At first he wouldn’t even speak to us. But he soon overcame his fears. Now he is resting peacefully. I have no doubt that he will turn to the Shepherd soon.
Spiteful: That’s wonderful. Have you heard my news?
Grace: What news?
Spiteful: Mother and Gloomy have started for the High Places. They left a few days ago.
Grace: Amazing! I was wondering where they had gone. [Pause] Are you sad to be left behind?
Spiteful: In truth, I couldn’t have gone with them. I am so weak. Besides, my husband gets out of jail in a few days. He needs someone to take care of him. [Smiles] But that’s all right. You see the Shepherd showed me a way to High Places through this attic.
Grace: What? How?
Spiteful: I’m learning to accept where I am with joy. I am learning to forgive my husband. And the Shepherd has already planted the seed of love. So you see I am starting my journey from here.
Grace: Have you been given new name?
Spiteful: [Nods] It is Compassion.
Grace: What a perfectly lovely name! Oh, Spite, I mean Compassion, you have been so blessed.
Compassion: I know. [Shakes herself] Oh, I nearly forgot. Moody, my husband, sent me a letter. I haven’t opened it yet.
[Compassion looks down at the letter again]
Grace: Would you like me to read it to you?
Compassion: Please. I’m so nervous. He hasn’t ever written me before. Not in all the time that he has been in jail.
[Grace opens the letter and begins to read out loud]
Grace: Dear Spiteful, I know that I have been wrong in the past. Here in prison I have had time to talk with the Shepherd. I realize all the horrible things that did to you and others. Please accept my apologies and my plea for forgiveness. I want to change and love you as I should. Your husband, Moody.
Compassion: Could it be? Do you really think he has changed?
Grace: If the Shepherd could change your heart, why not his?
Compassion: It seems too good to be true.
Grace: Welcome to the High Places, where all things are possible.
Compassion: [Smiles] There’s only one thing that I still have to sort out.
Grace: What’s that?
Compassion: Moody and Craven will get out of prison in two days. I hate for them to come here to this dreary dusty attic. I don’t even think that there is enough room for them. But I don’t know where else to go.
[Grace and Glory stand up and thinks. Then she gets and idea.]
Grace: I know! Aunt Dismal’s old house. She and Gloomy have left for the High Places, so they won’t need it anymore. We could fix it up and have all of you moved in.
Compassion: Really? You would do that?
Grace: Yes. I’ll take care of all the arrangements. I can have Peace and Joy help me clean. Then we can
help move you over to the house.
Compassion: You are too kind.
Grace: Don’t worry about a thing.
[Both hug. Lights down.]
[Aunt Dismal house. Lights up. Play God Loves You by Rachel Lampa. Enter Grace and Glory, Peace, Joy, and Valiant. All begin cleaning and making the house cheerful. Once the house is ready Grace exits and reenters a moment later with Compassion. They clean a chair and help Compassion over to it. Music down.]
Compassion: The house looks beautiful. So clean and fresh. It’s a miracle!
Grace: [Laughs] We all worked together.
Valiant: Now everything is ready for Moody and Craven.
Compassion: [Looks out the window] It’s almost time for them to be let out of prison. I didn’t arrange for anyone to meet them and bring them here.
Grace: Oh, don’t worry. We talked about it on the way here. I will go and serve as escort here.
Compassion: Really? Are you sure Grace? I know that Craven hurt you so much when you were younger. Aren’t you afraid?
Grace: Oh, Compassion, that is such a sweet thought. But trust me, I am happy to show my cousin that I harbor no bitterness or anger toward him. I am happy to help him.
Valiant: You had better go quickly. It’s almost time.
Grace: Right. I’ll be back soon.
[Exit Grace and Glory]
Compassion: She is so changed. Six years ago, she would have run from Craven. Now she goes so boldly to him.
Valiant: It’s the Shepherd. He has changed her.
Compassion: Indeed. I wonder if the Shepherd could do the same for Murmuring. She is so lost and angry. I want to help her, but she only spurns me.
Joy: Don’t worry. Murmuring will have to come to the Shepherd on her own. Though I fear that it will take more than we can do to change her.
Peace: And what of Bitterness?
Compassion: He still won’t follow the Shepherd. He loves his family and money too much to leave them. I fear they will be his undoing.
Peace: We must continue to help them. Maybe, one day, they will see the truth.
[Joy who had been looking out for the first sign of the threesome]
Joy: Here they are!
Valiant: Hurry. Hide the broom and straighten the table.
[Peace hides the broom and Joy straightens the table. Enter Moody, Craven, and Grace.]
Moody: [Seeing Compassion he runs to her] Spiteful! How good it is to see you again.
[Craven and Grace stand just inside the door. Craven looks uneasy. Compassion smiles.]
Compassion: It’s good to see you too.
Moody: Oh, Spiteful, so much has happened.
Compassion: True. [Pause] I’m no longer Spiteful. The Shepherd gave me a new name. I am Compassion now.
Moody: I’m sorry … Compassion. Can you ever forgive me for everything I did?
Compassion: Yes. I already have. Can you ever forgive me for some for the things that I have done and said?
Moody: Of course! We can both begin again. [Looking around at the house] This house is so agreeable.
Compassion: You can thank Grace and Glory for that. She arranged it so that we could move in here and start a new life.
Moody: [To Grace] I don’t know how I can ever repay you.
Grace: Please don’t try. Just try to love your wife and make an honest living.
Moody: I’ll see what can be done.
Valiant: We will help you.
Moody: Thank you.
Compassion: Can I see more of the house?
Grace: Of course. Here …[walks over and starts to help her up, but Moody steps in front of her]
Moody: Here, I’ll help her. We can walk through the house together.
[Grace steps back and lets Moody help Compassion up]
Compassion: We will see you all in a while.
Grace: We’ll see you later.
[Moody and Compassion exit]
Valiant: I had better head home. There are some things that need to be done.
[Craven steps forward]
Craven: I would like to talk to Much-Afraid.
Grace: You can go home. I’ll be fine.
Valiant: Until later then.
[Valiant leaves. Peace and Joy stay close by in case they are needed.]
Grace: What do you need Craven?
Craven: I want to know why you would want to help us.
Grace: Because I care for you.
Craven: We are the people that hurt you.
Grace: All the more reason to help you. I want to show you that I have come to love all of you.
Craven: This is the Shepherd’s work, isn’t it?
Grace: [Smiles] It is. He has changed me.
[Pause. Craven thinks.]
Grace: I have to go. Valiant will need my help. I will see you later.
[At the Stream. The Shepherd sits thinking. Enter Craven.]
Craven: Sir? Shepherd? I …
Shepherd: Come and speak.
Craven: I can’t fight you anymore. I’ve tried, but I can’t do it any longer.
Shepherd: Then give up, and let me change you.
Craven: If you will, change me. I am a horrible man, but I can’t go on like that anymore. Please, change me.
Shepherd: I am willing. You are forgiven. Now you will begin to change. The Lord’s name for you is not Craven, but Fearless. And you will be a Fearless witness for me.
Fearless: My Lord, what must I do?
Shepherd: Go home and prepare for your journey to the High Places. Once I plant the seed of love in your heart you will begin your journey.
Fearless: Thank you. I will do whatever you say.
Shepherd: I will come for you soon. When you hear me singing follow after me.
Fearless: I will.
[Exit Shepherd. A few moments pass. Craven tries to take it all in. Enter Grace. She is surprised to see Craven there.]
Grace: Craven, I didn’t expect to see you here.
Fearless: [Kindly] That’s obvious. But it’s okay, I was just on my way home.
[Starts to leave but Grace stops him]
Grace: Wait. You have been talking to the Shepherd, haven’t you?
Fearless: Yes. We are to start for the High Places soon.
Grace: Craven, that is wonderful!
Fearless: And my name isn’t Craven anymore. It’s Fearless.
Grace: That is a much better name than Craven.
[Pause. Grace turns to leave. Craven’s voice stops her.]
Fearless: Grace, before I go I need to ask you something. I know that I hurt you a lot when I was younger. I know that I was wrong, and then I tried to force you into a marriage that you never wanted. I know that I don’t deserve to ask, but will you forgive me?
Grace: Yes. Completely and of everything.
Fearless: You have been so good to me. You were so kind and gracious to everyone. If the Shepherd can make a woman like you, I want to know Him too.
Grace: He will help you. He will make you into more than you ever can imagine.
Fearless: I can believe it.
Grace: Craven, Oh, Fearless … I …
[Grace is cut off by the sudden entrance of Valiant panting and running]
Valiant: Grace, I hoped to find you here.
Grace: Valiant, what’s wrong?
Valiant: [Out of breath] It’s Bitterness and Murmuring. The Inn has caught on fire! Come quickly! They will need help!
Grace: Fearless, you go home and prepare for your journey. We will handle this.
Fearless: Are you sure? It’s dangerous!
Grace: It is, but we will be all right. I will see you later.
[Grace and Valiant Exit hurriedly. Fearless is left thinking, then exits. Lights down.]
[Lights up. The Market. Bitterness and Murmuring stand coughing from smoke and are dazed. Enter Grace and Valiant.]
Valiant: Bitterness, we have come to help. What can we do?
Bitterness: [Calmly] There is nothing to be done. The inn has been destroyed.
Murmuring: And it’s all your [Pointing to Grace] fault. Ever since you came here we have had nothing but trouble. You have been bringing that Shepherd where He isn’t wanted and chasing off our customers. You ought to be ashamed.
Bitterness: That’s enough, Murmuring. Grace is not in the wrong; we are. If she hadn’t come and taken Spiteful out of the attic she would have been killed. Grace has shown me the better way. It’s good that the business has burned. I am glad.
Murmuring: [Angrily] Glad?! You are glad? We have lost everything and you have to audacity to be glad?
Bitterness: Yes. And I won’t put it off any longer. I will now follow the Shepherd. This time no one is going to stop me.
[Bitterness Exits. Murmuring tries to grab and stop him, but she is stopped by Valiant.]
Valiant: Let him go. You can’t stop him.
Murmuring: No. Bitterness. Come … [She turns to Grace hotly and begins screaming] Now see what you have done? You have ruined my life. I hate you!
[Murmuring begins to run off but she is stopped by Grace’s voice]
Grace: Murmuring, [Murmuring stops] You may say about me what you will, but I beg you to turn your eyes to the Shepherd. He alone can save you.
[Murmuring leaves. Grace sighs. Valiant puts a hand on Graces shoulder.]
Valiant: You did your best. She will have to find the Shepherd on her own.
Grace: I just wish that there was more we could do.
Valiant: For now there is nothing. I know it is hard, but we can only do so much, Grace. She is in His hands now.
Grace: I know. I’m so glad that Spiteful, I mean Compassion, is safe.
Valiant: I am, too.
Valiant: For now we have work to do. It is time for me to return to the High Places.
Grace: Return? What do you mean?
Valiant: My time in this world is limited. I will soon leave and go to my eternal High Place. I have heard that Aunt Dismal is to come with me.
Grace: But I was just getting to know you and Aunt Dismal. I don’t want you to leave.
Valiant: Times aren’t in my hands, Grace. The Shepherd is calling for me to come home. I must follow Him.
Grace: But, I still wish I had more time.
Valiant: We will still have a little time together. Come there is much to do.
[Grace and Valiant Exit hand-in-hand. Lights down.]
[The High Places. A large table is being prepared by Aunt Dismal and Valiant for the Feast. Grace and Glory narrates from off-stage.]
Grace: Time flew by. I helped Valiant prepare for her departure and continued to check in on Compassion. Although now she is being taken care of by Moody, who has been changed to Steadfast. Valiant and I have been spending most our time on the High Places. But I have also made a few trips to see Fearless. He has matured so fast. He got to the High Places much faster than I did, and now we run and talk together. He’s become a dear friend.
[Valiant finishes arranging flowers]
Valiant: There! Now everything is ready for the feast.
Aunt Dismal: Everything looks lovely. It was so nice of the Shepherd to have a feast in honor of our leaving.
Valiant: Oh, dear friend, can you believe that our time has come?
Aunt Dismal: It is hard to think that it is time. But I am so happy that I will be set free from this body and get to live in a better place.
[Valiant and Aunt Dismal hug]
Valiant: Come, there is something that I want to show you.
[Valiant and Aunt Dismal Exit. Grace comes in chasing Fearless. She catches him.]
Grace: Hah! Got you again!
Fearless: It’s not fair. You have been up here longer. You have better hind’s feet than I do.
Grace: You will get better. You have come so far. Soon you’ll be able to run rings around me.
Fearless: Living up here has been wonderful. It’s like living in a new world.
Grace: In many ways, you are.
Fearless: We have both changed so much since we left the Valley.
Grace: I know. I feel like we are both new creations.
Fearless: Aren’t we?
Grace: [Laughs] We are.
[Both stare at each other for a moment lost in thought. Then Fearless turns.]
Fearless: I need to go. I forgot. I have to meet the Shepherd in the glen. I will see you soon.
Grace: Peace and Joy? You can come out now.
[Enter Peace and Joy]
Grace: And you don’t have to disappear every time Fearless and I are together.
Joy: We just thought that you two might like to be alone.
Grace: You two! Whatever will I do with you?
Peace: But he has become very special to you, hasn’t he?
Grace: He has. Ever since he began his journey to the High Places, he has been one of my best friends. Isn’t the Shepherd amazing? He can take our greatest sources of worry and hate, like Craven was, and turns him into Fearless, a friend and source of joy.
[Peace and Joy exchange a look of knowingness]
Peace: It is amazing!
Joy: Look here comes Strength.
Grace: Strength? Who is …
[Enter Bitterness now Strength]
Strength: Grace and Glory, is that you?
Grace: It’s me. It’s so good to see you again Bitter … I mean Strength.
Strength: It’s good to see you again too. I am glad to be here with all of you.
Grace: Tell me, what has become of Murmuring?
Strength: [Sadness in his voice] She still refuses to repent. She has gone to live with her sister. I continue to reach out to her. I pray that one day she will turn to the Shepherd and join me.
Grace: I hope so too.
[Enter Valiant, Aunt Dismal, and Gloomy wearing beautiful white clean clothes]
Aunt Dismal: Is this where our going away party begins?
Grace: Yes. Now all we have to do is wait for the Shepherd. Come here and sit, Aunt Dismal.
Aunt Dismal: You know my name was changed. I am Thanksgiving now.
Grace: Forgive me. I forgot. There has been so much name changing of late that it is hard to keep up.
Gloomy: I know. Just think; I have been changed from Gloomy to Praise. Now I get to bring honor to my King.
Valiant: Has anyone heard from Moody?
Grace: The last that we heard he was somewhere in the desert. He did send his apologies.
Valiant: So everyone is here except the Shepherd and Fearless.
Joy: Here they come!
[Enter Fearless and the Shepherd. All bow or curtsy to the Shepherd.]
Shepherd: Let the feast begin!
[All begin to eat, drink, laugh, and talk pleasantly]
Valiant: [To Grace] Haven’t things turned out wonderfully, Grace and Glory?
Grace: Better than I could have imagined. It so wonderful to see my relatives finding the same joy and
peace that I have found.
Valiant: You have done well.
Grace: It was the Shepherd who did the real work.
Valiant: True. But even a tool chooses to be used.
Grace: I am going to miss you, Valiant.
Valiant: It won’t be long. One day you will join me.
Grace: I know, but I will miss you until then.
Valiant: Work hard for the Shepherd until it’s your time. You have a bright future ahead of you, Grace. Embrace it.
[Grace and Valiant hug]
Grace: Thank you, Valiant.
Valiant: And unless I miss my guess you won’t just have your handmaids to keep you company.
[Valiant looks over at Fearless. Grace follows her eyes. She is confused, but she can’t get another question in. The Shepherd comes to the front of the small group. He motions for Thanksgiving and Valiant to come stand beside Him.]
Shepherd: Now is the time for these two dear servants to depart. But before you go, Grace and Glory has a song to sing for us.
Grace: I wanted to find a way to say good-bye to you.
Song: Here You Stand by Cherri Keggey
Thanksgiving: That was lovely, Grace. Thank You.
[Thanksgiving and Grace hug]
Grace: Good-bye for now.
Grace: The Shepherd be with you.
Valiant: And with you.
[Valiant and Thanksgiving exit amid well wishes and good-byes]
Praise: I’m going to miss them.
Grace: Me too.
Shepherd: One day you will all join them.
Fearless: Meanwhile we have work to do, so that when we go on the other side of the river we will have trophies of the King’s Grace and Glory.
[Fearless smiles and looks at her]
Shepherd: Fearless, I would have a word with you alone.
[Fearless and Shepherd Exit]
Strength: I must go too. I have work to do in the Valley of Humiliation. Good-bye.
Praise: Thank you, Grace, for all your help. We are in your debt.
Grace: You owe me nothing.
Praise: Still, thank you for everything you did. You loved us when no one else would.
Grace: You’re welcome.
Praise: Well, I’m off too. I have some mountains to explore.
Grace: Have a good time!
Grace: Now I am starting to feel left out. Everyone has things to do and places to go. I don’t even know
what my gift is yet. In all the excitement I forgot to ask the Shepherd.
Joy: Have patience, Grace. The Shepherd will reveal it to you.
Peace: Listen to her. I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Grace: You’re right. I just wish that it would come soon.
Shepherd: Then turn around. Now is the time.
[Grace and Glory turns and smiles]
Grace: Really? Oh, please tell me.
Shepherd: Isn’t it obvious? Haven’t you seen it?
Grace: As I have said, I feel like it is right under my nose, but I can’t find it.
Shepherd: Your gift, Grace and Glory, is encouragement. You can speak into a person’s life and can lift their eyes to me. This is a wonderful gift. A special gift. I entrust it to you knowing that you will use it well.
Grace: [Excitedly] Thank you, Shepherd. Now what am I to do with this gift? Where should I go?
Shepherd: That you will find out very soon.
Shepherd: Fearless. Do you understand?
Fearless: I do.
Shepherd: Come Peace and Joy. We have matters to discuss. [To Fearless and Grace] We will be back shortly.
[Exit Peace, Joy, and the Shepherd]
Grace: Crav … Fearless. The Shepherd has just told me my gift. I am an encourager.
Fearless: That’s wonderful. I’m so happy for you, Grace.
Grace: Everything has turned out so wonderfully. I can’t believe it! Except, I don’t know where I am to use
Fearless: I just wanted to tell you that I am leaving.
Grace: Leaving? Where are you going?
[Fearless looks off in the distance and then points]
Fearless: To the Valley of Scoffing. The people there need to hear about the Shepherd and His love for them.
Grace: [Worry in her voice] The Valley of Scoffing? But I have heard that the people there are mean and cruel. They have been known to beat and hurt the servants of the Shepherd. You would be harmed.
Fearless: Are we going back to our old nature Grace?
Grace: I’m sorry, Fearless. I just fear for you.
Fearless: It’s all right. I won’t be alone.
Grace: Yes. I know. You’ll have the Shepherd.
Fearless: I will have Him. But I hope not just Him. [Pause] Grace, I know that I have been very mean and horrible to you in the past. And when I tried to force you into marriage it was out of selfish motives. [Kneels] But I kneel before you now, not as Craven, but as Fearless, servant of the King. My dearest wish is that for the rest of our lives here on this earth that we could be together and serve the Shepherd together. Will you become one with me in this life?
[Grace kneels down so that she is eye level]
Grace: [Touched] Yes! With all my heart. We are no more the children that we were back in the Valley. We have both become new. I can think of nothing more I would rather do.
[Both stand hand in hand. Enter Shepherd, Peace, and Joy.]
Shepherd: Have you agreed, Grace? Will you go with Fearless?
Grace: Yes! But what about Peace and Joy? Will they come too?
[Peace and Joy look at each other and then at Grace]
Joy: We are to be your handmaids no longer. You have Fearless now.
Peace: We will still be your friends and will visit you often. But we have others that we must help.
[Grace and Glory hugs them both]
Grace: You have both been such good friends to me. Thank you for all your help. Come see us soon.
Joy: We will.
Song: Make Us One [Peace and Joy take Grace aside and give her a bouquet, veil, pretty shoes, and prepare her for the wedding. While they are getting Grace and Glory ready, The Shepherd and Fearless talk while the music is playing.]
Shepherd: You will make a good team. You will go far together.
Fearless: Thank you. I couldn’t ask for a better wife.
[As the last chorus begins Grace walks over to him. The Shepherd, Grace, and Fearless join hands. After a few moments the Shepherd then joins both of their hands together and lets go and steps back. Fearless and Grace hold hands and are joined together as one. Finish the song.]
Shepherd: Go and many blessings follow you.
Fearless: Come Grace. Today we begin serving the Shepherd together.
Grace: Let’s go. I’m ready!
[Fearless and Grace Exit hand in hand. Lights down.]