Most every evening, after I have finished my supper and if we don’t have visitors, Melanie and I have a date in my home office where we watch travelogues, documentaries, and Hallmark channel romance movies together. We especially like movies on Hallmark’s mystery channel. And one of our very favorites is the series written by Martha Williamson titled Sign, Sealed, Delivered.
Ms. Williamson wrote the Touched By An Angel series a few years ago. She is a Christian and her new series often contains subtle and even overt, Christian themes. Bible verses show up in dialogue though they are not always identified as such.
The S.S.D. series is based in a fictional dead letter office of the Denver post office. A regular disclaimer explains that real dead letter postal offices don’t work like this one does. But those guys don’t have to tell entertaining stories.
The movies follow attempts to solve garbled or missing addresses so the mail can be delivered. People have their lives put on hold because of the breakdowns in communication.
The episodes also follow the lives of the four quirky people working in the office: two guys and two gals. It’s a Hallmark series, so of course the guys have each fallen in love with one of the girls. And here is where Ms. Williamson has fun playing with the garbled efforts of these four characters trying to work and communicate with each other. I had been enjoying the light comedy of the series when I finally realized that this theme might also be an intentional move by Ms. Williamson to introduce more serious spiritual overtones. Again and again, she has her characters struggling to overcome “dead letters” in their own daily lives. Is it more than a clever, ironic twist on their occupation?
For example, in One In A Million, an episode from last year, Norman (Geoff Gustafson) is having his customary difficulties letting Rita (Crystal Lowe) know he likes her. Rita, who battles shyness herself, tries to help Norman by dropping hints. Nikki (Emma Pedersen), a customer who has come to the post office to try to retrieve a letter, has been telling Rita how the boyfriend she wrote to broke up with her before the letter was delivered.
Nikki: I ran away and he didn’t even follow me.
Norman: [puzzled] We’re supposed to follow?
Rita: Yes. Like in the movies!
[Slowly the wheels are turning in Norman’s mind as he realizes there is a huge gap in his information base. He mumbles to himself.]
Norman: I’ve been watching the wrong movies…
Although it’s not a direct commentary on the spiritual life, I immediately thought that’s what God thinks about us as we wander off from Him. We’re not following the right examples! It’s not supposed to be this hard but we keep getting lost because we don’t follow Jesus like we were supposed to do. You could start a conversation with that scene.
Oliver (Eric Mabius), the office director, and Shane (Kristen Booth) also have difficulties communicating their feelings to one another. In the newest episode of the series, Higher Ground, Shane has suddenly been called back for a sensitive assignment at her former job at the CIA. She has been unable to communicate back to her friends in Denver due to the high security and secrecy surrounding the work.
When she finally returns, she discovers Oliver has shoved her desk into a far corner. They have an awkward meeting, uncertain how things now stand between them. Oliver tries to live his life by clear rules, so no one can ever blame him for being out of line. Shane confronts him in the Dead Letter office at the Post Office.
Shane: And tell me again… why you moved my desk?
Oliver: Uh… it was hard to look at every day.
Shane: So you mean you missed me?
Oliver: [He struggles for the right words.] I mean what I say when I say it. Although I don’t always say what I mean when I do say it, I mean it. For example, when I once said I hoped our first date wouldn’t be our last, that was a true and transparent statement that, if we had ever actually completed a first date, would subsequently have been born out in action. Assuming you were in agreement. Which, given your extended absence, you might understand my assumption that your intentions and mine were not in concert.
Shane: [Staring at him, almost in tears] If you are suggesting that I didn’t miss you – and I might be the only person on earth who understands what you just said! – …
And she proceeds to pull out the letters she had written him but could not send while on the secret mission.
Spoiler alert: they do finally kiss and make up. Remember, it’s the Hallmark Channel.
But I found myself thinking again, God must say that to us all the time! We stumble over our words, trying hard to say things exactly right so we won’t get in trouble, and it’s a wonder even WE know what we’re trying to tell God by the time we stop for a breath.
Fortunately, God has admitted He knows what we’re going to say even before we begin. That should take some of the pressure off.
The ensemble cast is wonderful. They are all capable of communicating so much fragile vulnerability just with their eyes, even before they have spoken a word from Ms. Williamson’s wonderful scripts. I highly recommend the Signed, Sealed, Delivered series for your next date night.