The last time out, I said I would reveal the second surprise the Lord had in store for us.
As a reminder, the first delight was our visit to Clingman’s Dome where Lauren and I had watched the sunrise over the Great Smokies 43 years ago.
The second surprise caught me even more off guard, and I found myself “drinking out of the saucer.”
Back in 1974 – the same year we visited Clingman’s Dome – I was acting in Unto These Hills, the regional play written by Kermit Hunter. The theater is situated in Cherokee, North Carolina. On our recent vacation to Jillian’s Cabin, we were nearest Whittier, N.C.
Cherokee was 5 miles up highway 19!
Unto These Hills was in the middle of its summer run. The production had just returned to the original version of the play, after having abandoned it for other adaptations that didn’t work as well as Kermit’s original script – which I had acted in 43 years ago!
I took my family (Evan’s favorite part was the Eagle Dance — see the pic above), and we met Dustin Wolfe, who did a fine job playing John Ross (the part I had played back in 1974), along with several of the other cast members: Addison Debter, (a great Will Thomas), Lori Sanders who pretty much reincarnated the late and wonderful Martha Nell Hardy as Mrs. Perkins (that voice!), and Kaki Clements who will break your heart as Wilani.
The set had undergone major improvements since my day. I’ll always remember standing stage right, high on a rocky outcropping back on August 8, 1974. We were in the middle of a short scene when they stopped the show with the following:
“Ladies and gentlemen, your attention, please.
President Richard Nixon has just announced his resignation
from the office of President of the United States. Thank you.”
I wish I could remember who had the next line, following a stunned pause, but it’s a blur. I’m sure that, given the nature of the scene, it had something to do with the need for Andrew Jackson’s government in Washington to keep its word and help the Cherokee Nation – President Jackson had been duplicitous, so say the least, though I’m sure he insisted that he was not a crook.
And then there was the title of the play: Unto These Hills is an allusion to the first line of Psalm 121.
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. (KJV)
The Lord is the one in Whom we place our trust. Neither the Cherokee, nor we, dare place our trust in any, save the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the God of the individual pilgrim as much as He is the God of His people. He has promised never to leave us, never to forsake us (Hebrews 13:5)
He will always surprise us with His grace.
When we least expect it.
When our cup is already running over.
And we are drinking out of the saucer.