“You do everything under the sun to deliver the best possible story-telling and production value you can, and then you have to leave the rest up to the audience, the powers that be… and lastly and most importantly… to God.” -Brian Bird
We waited for this moment for an entire season, for the moment when Jack tells Elizabeth, “You’re the one, the only one.” A season’s worth of expectations and dreams for these two characters was finally realized with those words.
At the opening of season one of When Calls the Heart, we were introduced to a coddled socialite who gave up living in the lap of luxury to pursue her dream of fighting for the futures of children in a small mining town on the Canadian Frontier. Through ten episodes, we watched Elizabeth race after that dream, despite loss, heartache, and the temptation to abandon everything.
In a parallel plotline, Elizabeth’s best friend and mentor also developed dreams of her own: a new place in the community, a possibility of love on the horizon, and justice for the 46 men who died in the mine explosion. Abigail chased these dreams as well, though circumstances developed time and again that made it almost impossible for her to keep going.
As I do some soul-searching of my own, in Jack’s own words, “I keep coming back to the same conclusion.” This show has inspired me, and so many others, to dream again and to dream big. We have dusted off our journals and our paints, reconnected with old friends and begun building new relationships founded on a Cornerstone that will not be moved.
In this last episode of season one, so many dreams come to fruition and others begin to emerge from beneath the layers of coal dust and grief. Mr. Miller, the only man to return home from the mine explosion, rekindles his dream of being an architect and builder by designing plans for a new church and schoolhouse. Elizabeth realizes the love her students have for her and finds that she belongs right where she is. Abigail awaits the arrival of the circuit judge who will finally bring the mining company to trial.
However, just as Elizabeth reflects at the end of the episode, “What is life but a bittersweet mix of sadness, wonderment, hope, and joy?” we also find that following our dreams does not always unfold quite as we expected. Often, our dreams and God’s desires for us aren’t mirror images. I’m sure Elizabeth did not envision her first year of teaching to take place in a saloon, nor did Jack see himself falling in love with a schoolteacher and taking up residence in a “sleepy little town” like Coal Valley.
What do we do when the doors God opens for us aren’t exactly what we saw for ourselves? In his thoughts on the wrapping of season one, Executive Producer Brian Bird wrote “this is the best place for us to be… on our knees, dependent on God, knowing he has a plan for our welfare and our future. It’s one of the virtues we hope the audience understands about this show and about our world of Coal Valley. Reliance on providence is a value woven into the tapestry of this world and it works in real life.” When plans change, when dreams reshape, or when God opens a door and you just don’t know why, you must still to step through it. And if we cannot see where God is leading and we feel that our dream is asking too much, we drop to our knees and place it all in His hands.
It is this reliance on God, an unshakeable faith, that He truly wants to see. He allows speed bumps, roadblocks, and even brick walls to challenge us so that we learn to rely on Him. After all, if we could achieve our dreams on our own, how would God get the glory? Each time a Rosemary LeVeux or a Henry Gowan crosses my path and attempts to rattle my foundation, I need to dig in my heels, raise my shield of Faith, and lower to my knees. For, by going before God with my passions, work, and dreams, I can be sure that He is always going ahead of me.