When Calls The Heart

23 04 2018

perfect-love-casts-out-fear (1)

There is a wonderful family friendly television show that has just wrapped up its fifth season on the Hallmark channel last Sunday night. The show is called “When Calls The Heart” and the series was inspired by Janette Oke’s book of the same name. The saga was developed for the small screen by none other than Michael Landon Jr. whose Father Michael Sr. brought us classics like Bonanza, Little House On The Prairie and Highway to Heaven. Actress Erin Krakow plays Elizabeth Thatcher, an individual of means who leaves behind her rich family to become the Teacher in a mining town called Hope Valley. Daniel Lissing plays Canadian Mountie Jack who ends up marrying Elizabeth. Shortly after the wedding, Jack was called away on official Mounties Business leaving Elizabeth home to patiently await his return. This is where the controversy began.

At the conclusion of Season Five’s next to last episode, another Mounties Soldier comes riding into town and gives a now distraught Elizabeth the understanding that Jack is not coming home because he was killed in the line of duty. This is where the Fan Base of the Show went on the warpath.

Social Media has changed almost everything about the way we now live our lives. Facebook and Twitter are two of the culprits that both connect and confuse the audience. Those devoted followers of When Calls The Heart are affectionately known as “The Hearties.” Hearties tweet with one another all through the weekly episodes. Even the Cast joins into the flow of the community by also messaging back and forth with their followers. It really has become like family evidenced by three sell out gatherings already held where both the Stars and the Fans have interacted together on a weekend getaway. You would assume that nothing could come between this love fest and phenomenon called “Heartiesmania!”

But something became rotten in the State of Denmark.  Many of the “Hearties” rebelled in mass when they discovered that there might be any possibility that Daniel Lissing and his character Jack could be written out of the show. Facebook and Twitter blew up with posts and tweets that threatened to boycott the show if Jack dies. People got angry. Some in the crowd resorted to name calling. Leadership scrambled and put their crisis team in place. I watched and did not like what I was seeing.     

If When Calls The Heart is a faith based show that is built upon a foundation much stronger than just anther Fairy Tale, I began to hope that the “political correct police” wouldn’t step in and spoil what has been a really good program. So much of our Society is driven to please crowd demands no matter what, even if it isn’t what is right or best. This is why we have Churches demanding that their Clergy preach only “feel good” messages. This is why we have Teachers who won’t teach, Coaches who won’t coach, Writers who won’t express what is really going on inside and too many dreams dying before they even got a chance to wake up and see the sunshine.   

I had expressed quite publicly my thoughts that I hoped Hallmark Channel was going to stick to the story even if it meant breaking a few hearts along the way. As I reflect on my almost 60 years on Earth, if I am honest, I realize that much of my wonderful life has still left me with big chunks of my heart missing leaving these canyon sized holes behind. Loss of precious family, burying children, saying “Goodbye” before we hardly ever got to say “Hello,” I know for sure that if it wasn’t for Love, I’d be dead. Because of real love, this old heart of mine keeps on beating in spite of all the brokenness. And while it would be tempting to try to play it safe, I know that if I did, I would have missed the amazing God given experiences that were worth the risk of opening up to. When we choose to give our hearts away, there are no guarantees of any bliss at all. But with faith, hope and love, we trust that our mess will become a masterpiece and what could have been easily trashed become a true treasure even if it must be tried by fire!

My humble request for my fellow Hearties was that if When Calls The Heart has taught us anything, it is to stay true to what the Bible teaches. Perfect love casts out fear and if we want the story of Jack and Elizabeth to be one that transcends just another television soap opera, then you must let go and open your heart to what providence has in store. If you always get to call the shots then is it real faith? If you expect everything to always go your way, you will be so busy manufacturing and manipulating life, you won’t ever be free to live it. Love is a mysterious way to travel and if Love is the greatest of these, then you can be sure that the bringing together of Jack and Elizabeth was not a waste of a moment at all. No matter how long, it’s the quality and not the quantity that determines magic.

Fasten your seatbelt Hearties and Everyone and remember that nobody who has ever truly lived ever chose to settle for safety over sacrifice! God can’t steer parked cars! I’m thankful that both Jack and Elizabeth followed their dreams! I pray that you and I will continue to move forward and share the pain, smile when we can, dance when the music plays and cry when we need to. When the heart calls, the soul must answer for even a choice to do nothing is still a choice after all. Life is hard. God is good. The Lord never lets us go even when we hate the script. Live on!



One response

23 04 2018
Rachel Dunn

I love this so much! You have said so much and shared many of the same sentiments as so many of us Hearties. Hope Valley, it’s characters, and all that it stands for has embraced so many. I haven’t ever seen a show where the characters, as well as the actors who portray them, have become family. With that said, families go through delightful times and the unpleasant times. A family feels every emotion with their loved ones throughout life’s journeys. There is a bond like no other. A family doesn’t leave, place blame, or judge when there is a time of struggle. That’s the way it should be but as we all know, that’s not the way all families are. Hope Valley, it’s characters, and actors have been the family that some Hearties may not personally have. They have placed their heart’s emotions and bonds into the Hope Valley family. So It’s understandable why so many have been hurt by the passing of Jack’s character. In our Christian walks, when things don’t go as hoped or planned, that’s when our faith in the Lord steps in. James 1:2-4 says: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
The whole reason I began watching When Calls the Heart was because of how Hallmark was placing Christ as the centerpiece of the show just as Janette Oke intended Him to be. I could relate to Hope Valley and their resting upon Christ through everything that goes on in their daily lives. So it seems that Hope Valley and the Hearties are going through a valley. Just as the scripture says, we must persevere so that we all will become mature and the Lord can complete what He has in store for When Calls the Heart, Janette Oke, Brian Bird, Hallmark, all the writers, the crew, the actors, and all of the Hearties. Think of all the great works God has already completed and has in the works through When Calls the Heart. I know he’s done some wonderful things for and through me all in part to this wonderful show. To God be the Glory!

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