When I think of practical, everyday expressions of love, I think of When Calls the Heart.
When Calls the Heart is a Hallmark show about a schoolteacher who moves to a small mining town. She meets a handsome Mountie, and much drama ensues. It is corny and melodramatic at times, and I am fully aware of this, but I don’t care. I binged that show hard in the early days of the pandemic.
However, the reason the show makes me think of love is not the romantic tension between Elizabeth Thatcher and Jack Thornton. It’s because of my Nana.
My husband and I moved in with my Nana a year ago. I spent a lot of that year finishing my teaching degree and starting my first full-time teaching job. All that to say…I’m really busy. And when I get home from work, I am tired. I am also an introvert, so often when I’m tired I just want to be left alone.
My Nana is incredibly patient and kind to me when I come home feeling tired and antisocial. And on days when I don’t have a lot of energy, sometimes one of us will say: “Want to watch When Calls the Heart?”
Although my Nana and I have fairly different tastes in TV shows, When Calls the Heart is one we both fell for during the pandemic. Sometimes we sit together and watch episode after episode, and then over dinner we discuss the characters and what we think will happen next.
For me, it’s more than just a show. It’s about connection. Somehow the everyday quarrels, heartbreaks, adventures, and drama of the imaginary citizens of Hope Valley help me to feel closer to my Nana. It’s a way for us to spend time together, laugh together, and sometimes cry together. It’s a small way to show love when I feel like I have little to give.
Love happens when we’re at the end of ourselves. It happens when we’re tired and cranky and want to be left alone. It happens when we’re stressed, when we’re discouraged, when we’re tempted to isolate ourselves. Love happens when we’re cooped up in a house with the same people for months during a lockdown and we feel like we’re going insane. Love is messy and sometimes painful, but it’s also what makes the long and tiring days worth it.
Love can look like many things. A hug. A kind word. Sacrificing forty-five minutes of a busy day to watch a TV show with someone you care about. It can look like pausing for long enough in all the busyness to ask someone else how their day is going.
Of course, love can also look like a schoolteacher falling for a handsome Mountie in a small mining town. But let’s face it—even the best episodes are better with someone to share them with.