Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone…”Genesis 2:18
I’m a sucker for some good reality tv, and yes, I know that is a statement many would find oxymoronic. Nevertheless there has been one show I have watched with a good deal of devotion. It is the tv series ALONE. It premiered in June of 2015 and has had a growing viewership ever since with multiple seasons, 6 so far.…which I highly recommend.
Here is the premise of the show…You take 10 participants and drop them off with 10 items they chose, in a remote place in the world. You tell them whoever survives the longest without tapping out will get $500,000. They are provided with a satellite phone that they can only use to quit the show with. They have also been trained how to set up GoPro cameras around their camp so you can watch them attempt to build shelter, start fires, acquire food, ward off dangerous animals, and attempt to find a new normal. Occasionally the production team will visit with a doctor for a couple of minutes just to check in on the health of the participants.
This is it.
Here is how long each winner from each season has lasted…56 days, 66 days, 87 days, 75 days, 60 days, and 77 days.
Now mind you, these people have prepared for this. They are often wilderness experts, survivalists, etc. Some of them do incredibly well. They build cabins, are catching fish, they are thriving….that is, on one side of the mountain. Yet just on the other side, someone might be living in the shade of the mountain the entire time. It’s cold and dark. The fish are not biting. There are no beautiful vistas to look toward. And time….it drags on for them.
It’s interesting to see how many people get into their own heads in the show. They start repeating negative thoughts, fear starts to grip them. Every sound in the forest is of something looking to kill them. They think in worst case scenarios all the time. As you would imagine, they are first to tap out.
Then, you have those who try and establish some form of a routine. They are engaging the camera, using it as a video diary. They are pushing through because they know $500k awaits the ultimate winner. And they know, while full of emotion, and their bodies being savaged by hunger, they know if they hold on the pain will be worth it.
In fact, the first season’s winner was talking about his experience and he said it wasn’t good for man to be alone that long. Well, his words echo a greater truth spoke ages ago by God himself when he said “It is not good that man should be alone…” Gen. 2:18
Yet, in this moment, many are very alone.
We as a church see the prayer requests and hear the pain of isolation in candid conversations. And just like the show ALONE, while one person can be thriving in the sunshine of one side of the mountain, another sits in darkness on the other side.
But what are we to do? In a very real sense, we are like the doctors who occasionally visit the participant in the show. We are to observe, check in, encourage, take notes, and come back again later it the story.
- Make calls.
- Ask your neighbors, from a distance, how they are doing….really doing.
- Think of widows, and reach out.
- Think of single mom’s, and reach out.
- Think of those people who were already isolated because of disability, life circumstance, etc.
- Think of caregivers who are helping their loved ones and are isolated.
- Think of those who struggle with depression.
Think of the encouragement we can give them just by remembering them and reaching out. This is our opportunity to be the church in unique ways. God has given us this moment. While we all unexpected participants in this story of the virus, we do not have to feel the crushing blow of being alone.
It starts with reaching out to one person…today.