There are very few shows worth writing about. Heartland is one of them. It’s a Canadian TV drama, loosely based on the Heartland books by Lauren Brookes. We started watching it last year on the recommendation of the dear Stockman’s. We love the story we’re living, but we also enjoy getting lost in fictional stories together, extracting truths and discussing the examples of love and struggle witnessed between the characters.
The backdrop is beautiful Alberta. The environment is a family farm. And the interaction happens between a family and their community. And if that’s not enough to grab my attention, the theme of hospitality runs through every episode. In the way they welcome strangers. In the way they receive people for who they are. In the way they gather around the dinner table, always with extra mouths to feed. In the way they seek reconciliation. In the way they open their home and barn to people and animals who need a place to stay.
There’s the grandpa, Jack, who works hard and expects the same of others. And even though he is tough through and through, with an emotional strength that’s almost intimidating, he loves deep and he’s the driving soul behind the constant welcome in their home.
There’s Amy, Jack’s teenage granddaughter, a lover and healer of horses. As she pours herself into these animals, she finds they help her work through her own emotional and relational dysfunctions.
And there’s good ole’ Mallory, a favorite in our family. She’s their young neighbor, who spends more time at the farm than her own home. She’s the bringer of truth, the one who sees this family exactly for who they are. And wants to be near to them, a part of them.
And then there’s Ty. The teenage boy who finds his way to the farm during his probation. His broken past finds restoration in this family’s environment of grace.
Mark and I are currently watching season 6 of Heartland. But we recently began watching them all again with our three oldest (9, 11, 12). The storylines and relationships are great to watch together as a family. They connect with our children’s emotions and they inspire conversations. (I will note that there is mild profanity and very mild romantic gestures, though the relational dynamic is a far greater emphasis).
I thought I’d pass this little treasure onto you all just in case you like to cozy on the couch during these winter days like we do! Fictional stories are no place to dwell. But they have a way of inspiring us toward change. When we see a picture of forgiveness, we feel empowered to also forgive. We we witness the beauty of an interrupted life, it moves us toward being available. When we watch a family engage the world around them with love, we can image differently for our own family.
Season 1 and 2 of Heartland can be purchased on iTunes. And I believe it can also be watched on Netflix.
And as we live our own story, listen to the stories of others, and find ourselves amused by those on our screens, may we learn to get lost in the only story that truly gives us life. The Good News story of a loving God who authors grace for all people.