By Elizabeth Prata
I’ve been watching the History Channel’s show on Hulu called “Alone.” It features survivalists dropped into remote lands with a backpack of approved 10 pieces of gear, some cameras, to see who lasts the longest. The prize $500,000. The difference with this show and other reality programs is that there is no production crew taking film of the proceedings. The contestants are given a variety of cameras, go through a two-week boot camp (to learn the cameras and also about the land they will be surviving) and then dropped. Alone.
The candidates are carefully selected and there is a medical team that checks in with them each week. There have been medical extractions due to injury, illness, or sadly, starvation. But other than medical check-ins, the contestants are truly on their own, alone in a wilderness to do everything they can do to survive. Every little thing that has to be done has to be done by them and them alone. Everything from finding moss to wipe with, to getting a meal, to obtaining, lugging, and chopping firewood, building the fire, maintaining the fire, fending off predators, managing their calories, preparing for the weather, everything.
I’ve been fascinated with the show. I enjoy seeing the “beauty shots” of the places they are competing. Of particular beauty was Patagonia. Vancouver Island had its own beauty too. Shots of the Milky Way at night with all those stars, the variety of fir tree vegetation on Vancouver, the rugged sharp-toothed mountains of the southern Andes…I liked seeing their creativity in developing strategies to survive. I especially was tickled by Zach Fowler’s Duck Trap 3000, a mini boat with paddle wheel that traps a duck when the fowl nibbles on the bait on top of the platform.
I also admired the hardiness of the contestants. I am intrigued by their perseverance and ruggedness. I am not rugged, I am a wimp. I dislike even walking to the end of the driveway to check the mail. If it’s too hot when I think of checking it, I wait until the next morning. The first mosquito bite would have me dropping out. Survivalist, I ain’t.
But I have to be hardy and rugged in a different way, living alone as a person without many life skills.
In some ways I identify with the survival contestants. I want to be clear, I LOVE living alone. I’ve lived with my family, lived with a husband, and now I’m living alone, just me. I prefer alone. But I identify with them a lot.
Just like the survival contestants in the wild, everything that has to be done in my life has to be done by me. Making every meal. Doing taxes, taking care of the car, errands, cleaning the apartment, laundry, all of it- me. If I’m tired it’d be nice if someone brought me a cup of tea. Or made me toast. Or did the laundry. Or fed the cat. Sometimes I feel like an Alone contestant in the wild.
I am in a good place because I like living alone. The survivalists on the TV program enjoy living alone as well, or at least, if they have a spouse or family, they enjoy being alone for extended periods of time. I empathize with the women out there who don’t enjoy living alone and are grieved because of it. There could be many reasons why she’s by herself, a husband is in jail, or on military deployment. A single mom launches her last child into college or another living situation, leaving her alone for the first time. She’s widowed, or living alone because of unwanted divorce. Maybe she has an unsaved husband and she feels alone a lot of the time. There are many reasons for a woman’s alone living situation
The one thing that brought the survivalist winners through was their attitude. I identify with that as well. How can I complain about my brain, my living situation, my life, when God made me this way and gave me this life and offers this living situation as the beneficial gift that He knows it is? How can I not be content? Sure, I have struggles, most of them unseen by the public, by friends, even my clueless non-survivalist me, but it’s all good. Everyone has struggles of different sorts. Do you know why it’s all good in my opinion?
Because I am not alone. The Lord Himself sustains me. He gave me grace to repent, He gives me good gifts as a Father does, He brings me all inner strength and worldly provision just when I need it. His Spirit dwells IN me, how close is that to another person! I can commune with Jesus any time, through His Word, through prayer, through hymns, through speaking His word aloud back to Him. Any woman out there who is living alone, you are not alone.
You have your church, your friends, your family but living with you is the Lord. There is nothing, nothing, better than that.
And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20b)
I once was young and now am old, yet never have I seen the righteous abandoned or their children begging for bread. (Psalm 37:25).
I am not saying this out of need, for I have learned to be content regardless of my circumstances. (Philippians 4:11).
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. (Proverbs 31:25).
She not only doesn’t fear the days to come, she laughs at the now. She is certain of her maintenance, she has confident gladness of the days to come.
Gill’s Exposition says of the Proverbs 31 woman-
The church of Christ fears no want at any time, nor need any of her members; they have a clothing that never waxes old, a righteousness that will answer for them in a time to come; their bread is given, and their waters are sure; they shall want no good thing; all their need is supplied from Christ; they have hope in their death, and rejoice then and sing, “O death, where is thy sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:55; they will have confidence in the day of judgment, and not be ashamed; shall come to Zion with everlasting joy; and shall rejoice with Christ, angels and saints, to all eternity.
You might live alone, and sometimes, sure, the daily grind of life in the little things gets tiring, but overall our life in Christ is one of relief, gladness, and rejoicing, because we know we are not alone.