by Pam Morton
Over New Year's 2021, John and I watched a marathon of the show, "Alone." The producer distributes ten people throughout Vancouver Island with the goal of surviving in the vast Canadian wilderness for as long as they can...alone. Get it? The last person remaining wins a large sum of money and innumerable parasites.
It's fascinating to see different personalities, alone and under stress, try to work out the best way to survive. Some immediately go to work and create a home of sorts, while others get by with the bare minimum. As the days pass and hunger increases, reasons to quit or tap out become more frequent. "This is not what I signed up for," said the guy chased by a bear. "BLEEP! BLEEP! BLEEP!" said the electrician who can't hack his way through the brush. "I can't survive on one field mouse a day!" exclaimed a Baptist pastor. "I love being with Mother Earth, but my kids need me," said the part-hippie, part-herbalist. "Uh...I need help. I've had an axe accident," said the firefighter. "I never realized how hard it would be to be alone," said ALL of them.
The reasons mounted, until one by one, nine contestants tapped out. They were done.
Wilderness, 9; Humans, 0.
I sit smugly with my iced Diet Coke while yelling at the TV: "It was only ONE bear!” … “C'mon! You've got enough slugs there to last you for at least a week!” … “Can't you Superglue that cut?!”
In the same breath, I review my 2022 calendar and begin to list all the reasons that I may tap out before I even get started. I don't even know what goals to put on paper.
"Um...2021...Need I say more?" It wasn't a bear, but some things have had me running! "I think I've used all my reserves already!" (Metaphorically...) "More isolation? When will I ever get to sit with a friend again? Gah!" Now I know what I'd say to me if I were reading this. The survivalists in the wilderness all knew the pros and cons of all their arguments, too. What made the difference in many of them was their “Why.” If they had a solid reason for Why they were there, they were able to endure and press on longer than those who felt their initial reasoning flimsy.
What's your “Why” this year?
Psalm 33:20-22 says, “We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you ALONE.” (NLT)
I can try to live life alone or I can trust in the Lord alone. I’ve seen what I get when I try to do life alone...a rather sketchy looking psychological lean-to accompanied by a gnawing hunger of wanting more than I can trap. This year, I’m tapping out to self and tapping in to Jesus. Bears, rain, winds, wolves, and even murder hornets may come, but my “Why” keeps me steady and sure, for His “unfailing love surrounds us.” We’re going to make it another day.
Pam and her husband, John, and two teenaged daughters packed up their fulfilling, understood Midwestern lives and moved to Cairo, Egypt in 2009. Her dream of serving overseas became a shocking reality of daily cultural encounters that often left her wondering if she’d actually landed on Mars instead! From Cairo to Khartoum to Upper Egypt to deserts unknown, Pam continues to learn, live and thrive in a sandy, sweaty, hospitable land. An author, global worker, teacher trainer and self-proclaimed “professional luncher,” Pam wants to share laughter, life and hope with her dear Middle Eastern neighbors while providing insight into their customs and everyday life with her friends in the West.
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