Episode 3009 - Prayers From the Heart
From the Production Journal of Brian Bird, Executive Producer of When Calls the Heart
This is it – the final seven days of production of Season 3 of When Calls the Heart and the script cued up to begin filming tomorrow is a good one. It is written by Paul Jackson and titled, “Prayers from the Heart.” This is our third season finale, and I cannot believe how far this show has come in the last 30 months. It seems like only yesterday that I was getting off a plane in Vancouver, B.C., with my pal, Michael Landon, Jr., and we were touring the Jamestown Movie Ranch for the very first time, trying to envision it being the home of our town, then called “Coal Valley” and now aptly renamed “Hope Valley.” So many wonderful memories on the journey, along with some hard ones, a few detours, some good story experimentation, a lot laughter, and buckets of tears shed.
And for me, absolutely the best two things about this experience are these: First, some of the most enjoyable relationships with cast and crew of my 30 years working as a story-teller in this business; and secondly, the God-send of the Hearties, our electrifying Super Fans without whom I increasingly realize we could not be making this series.
In this episode, Mr. Jackson has illuminated a few of what I believe are the great and enduring truths of the human experience.
First, I love that old saying that “God collects our tears and never wastes our pain.” What I think that means is that whatever suffering or trouble we go through in this life, it’s an opportunity for growth. Growth of character, endurance and focus on others. We certainly can decide to become victims when life deals us a hand from the bottom of the deck. Or we can choose to replace our self-pity with empathy for those around us. In this episode, we throw the citizens of Hope Valley into their worst disaster since the explosion of the mine in Season 1. And we’re going to watch them go through the worst storm, landslide and flood of their lives. But we’ll also see them band together and sacrifice for each other to beat back the consequences and save their community. Failure is not an option. It can’t be. Our culture could use a dose of that kind of cooperation and resolve today, couldn’t it?
Secondly, joy is not something we should practice only when things are going well. Living a joy-filled life, even when things are looking grim is the key to surviving any circumstance. It doesn’t mean having a delusional, “Polly Anna” attitude. It means choosing not to focus on what you’ve lost, but on what you still have – the riches of a family, friends and community that care about you.
Finally, instead of praying for a miracle, why don’t we become the miracle? Rather than praying for provisions, bridesmaid dresses absolutely can be used as bandages for wounded neighbors. A wedding reception feast can sustain a town in need when the other food runs out. And in the process, a self-absorbed Bride can become the most generous Benefactor ever.
And when our hero, Mountie Jack, almost loses his life trying to save others, it’s not just prayer that brings him back from the brink. It’s a town that loves him and rallies in the street and refuses to leave until they get a healing. And Elizabeth becomes the hands and feet of that healing, never leaving his side, caring for him, nurturing him, reminding him of all that they mean to each other, of all that they still have to accomplish, and insisting that he wake up and get busy.
That’s the essence of what When Calls the Heart has always strived to be. Yes, this is our Season 3 Finale, and even if it ends up as our Series Finale, the lessons of this show are the kind of deeper magic the human family and the world have always, and will always need. Until we meet again in Hope Valley, or on some other byway, God speed.
– Brian Bird
UPDATE, April 11, 2016: Congratulations on Season 4, Hearties!! When this post was originally written, we had no idea what the future held at the end of Season 3. But I think you did. Your posts and Twitter dominance and Hearties Parties and E-fangelism for When Calls the Heart never failed. Instead of praying for a miracle, the Hearties have become the miracle. And now this show will go on, and I have no doubt so will your miracles!