So, before you begin, learn a little more about Kirsten W.:
I am a researcher of associations. Amazon is my favorite database—where every item is listed alongside “Customers who bought this item also bought,” and “Sponsored products related to this item,” in addition to lists of reviews. But I also love the library, where completely unrelated stories lie next to each other on the shelf, and you learn to expect the unexpected.
So, when I picked up the Signed, Sealed, Delivered pilot film one day, browsing about the DVDs, and saw that it was written and produced by the same person who did Touched by an Angel, I said to myself, “oh, it must be decent.” Ha! (That was before I knew the name of Martha Williamson—though I knew the legacy of her stories.) Then I took it home and watched it with my sister…and then my mama…and then my daddy…and even though I had only seen the pilot I trusted the vision enough to go out and buy the series.
Now I have discovered a blog, and an amazing community of fans and friends. Hello to you all, and thank you for watching and reading.
In an early scene we see the vase prominently displayed on the piano, and as Shane reads in the letter that it is called the “just-in-case vase,” we watch how it weathers through times of light and storm right alongside the Kellser family. During these flashbacks, we hear the singing of an old hymn: “It Is Well With My Soul.”
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea-billows roll
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul.
These flashbacks show us pictures of both:
- Peace—a 1940’s shot of a lighted living room and three generations of Kellser women—and
- Sorrows—a 1990’s shot of the girls huddling alone in a dark living room, waiting through a storm
When the family loses the vase, dreams disappear. Hope fades, and relationships disintegrate. In sending the vase, Mary Lou was “trying to save the family,” as Kim states, and losing it in the mail “made Mary Lou determined to prove herself.” Even after finding the vase again, very soon the Kellser family discovers they never owned it in the first place. Not owning the vase means that they cannot sell it; it means they cannot save the farm. When they realize this, Kim makes a striking statement. She says that “I’d rather lose this farm than lose my soul.”
“Soul” is a strange word choice, but it provides the other connecting link to the hymn. It is obvious that Kim is making a right moral decision. But she uses a distinct word—soul—to do so. It reminds me of Mark 8:36; “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? (NLT)” And it ties in with the hymn, and the images at the piano—and the warning. For that we turn to the hymn story itself.
The context of Horatio’s faith in the face of his reality is incredible. A trial by fire challenged his sense of place by changing the face of his home. A tragedy at sea altered the state of his family. Yet he still said, “It is well with my soul.” He knew his belonging. He knew his home. And he knew that on earth he was always journeying.
Kim knows she’s journeying on earth too. She has an illness that “kills you, and there’s no cure…sooner or later, the bone marrow just stops making red blood cells.” For that reason, she is forced to live deeper, and look her humanity in the face. From that view of the world, she can say of a death to come—“some fancy expensive vase isn’t gonna change that.”
The vase is a source of hope, because it points to the value of something greater. The last image we have of the vase in the Kellser home is a picture of it sitting on a side table, but it is not—as in the piano scene—by itself. The vase is positioned to the side, and in the middle of the table sits a figure of an angel, its wings surrounding a central figure. The prominence of this image seems to represent a turning point in the family, and is pictured at the occasion of Kim’s statement “I’d rather lose this farm than lose my soul.” It allows the vase to be instrumental, but not elemental. Salvation is not attached to a controlled, physical possession, but to an unforeseen gift.
At the conclusion of Home Again, we ultimately see the farm saved. In a beautifully unexpected turn of events, Oliver steps in to purchase the farm on behalf of the Kellser family—the real “answer to prayer.” (It’s not the first time he’s played this part!) More importantly, we see a daughter’s homecoming and a reunited family (and a reunited cast!), chronicling a journey of belonging and of faith—things unseen that are so intimately connected with home. In this world the journey of our lives may not end with material restoration. The story of “It Is Well” teaches us that. But our story may be the occasion for new life—like the building of a new educational center on the Kellser farm, where many generations of families will learn and grow. Our stories, like that of “It Is Well,” and like that of Home Again, may end up being the inspiration for a new legacy.
"Redemption…So often, we don’t get to see it. We hope and we pray and God says, “Trust me for the redemption that you can’t see yet. Trust me to provide.” And then every once in a while, we do. We get to see a big and joyous happy ending here and now and be reminded of the happiest of endings promised to us in eternity. We walk these roads and we wonder at God’s plan, but because of His promised Lamb, one day we will find ourselves face to face with our Father, adopted as sons and daughters. A family."