Lessons from Survivors

“We may be a global village, but instant communication often isolates us from each other, rather than uniting us.”  L’Engle

Tim and I have been texting each other all morning. He’s at home. I’m in Bend. The text go like this:

Him:  Clean sweep. Our next boy will be named Boston Rob.

Me: Natalie is a 19-year-old moron.

Him: She made it to the Final 3. Touche!

Me: She was as a sycophant.

Him: She’s only 19, what else was she going to do? Of course she was.

Me: I wasn’t like that at 19 and neither were ur daughters.

Him: And u would have been booted off the island.


For all the uninitiated, Tim and I are arguing by text over the last television episode of Survivors Island.

Boston Rob took home the million dollars after his 4th go at the money. In order to do that he had to outwit all the other teammates — not a difficult job with this bunch, thus my references to 19-year-old Natalie, who was as googly-eyed over the married Rob as any girl I’ve ever witnessed.

Yes, I know it’s only a reality TV, but as far as reality TV goes, it’s pretty good fare.

In fact, there were some powerful lessons in it this year.

Matt, the kid from Nashville who spent 27 days on Redemption Island by himself, spoke about the emotional difficulty of life alone: “Everything was a chore. Cooking the rice. Washing the pans. Everything about it.”

God, he said, sustained him.

We are built for community. When we are cut off from it, everything about life is hard. When we are part of it — or think that we are — life becomes an adventure.

During one emotional moment the 50-year-old Julie told the 22-year-old Matt that his witness as a Christian had convinced her to go back to church.  She lost the million but Julie says she came away with something far more valuable.

In the end, the thing that won Boston Rob the title of Survivor was his ability to connect with every person in the tribe. He spoke to each tribe member and made them feel as though they were the Chosen One to accompany him to the final four.

Boston Rob said it best in the finale:  We all want to be loved and listened to. That’s not always an easy thing to do.

And his good ol’ Boston try is a reminder that even when luck isn’t on our side, endurance counts. In Rob’s case, it adds up to a million dollars.

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  • Janice

    I was impressed with Matt’s openness about his faith. I praised the Lord every time he spoke about God – how much do you see that on prime-time TV other than when people are mocking Christianity?
    I praised the Lord when I saw Krista give Matt her Bible – her “luxury item”, before she left the game. To Matt, that gesture was everything, he had nothing with him on Redemption Island.
    I praised the Lord when Julie left the game saying that she was going to go home, find a church and get involved – giving a nod to Matt’s witness.
    I praised the Lord when Matt shared the Bible with the tribe and Mike was reading it out loud and commented that it was such beautiful language. Mike made a very important decision in the game based on something he read in the Bible that morning. He gave the “love” the opportunity to share the day with loved ones, to the very people who voted him out/sent him to RI. Mike also talked about how he had renewed his faith in God – another nod to Matt’s witness.

  • Someone just posted a comment on my blog which included this quote:

    “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

    Matt could have made his faith known to everyone in a very different way, one that would have turned everyone off. Instead, he apparently (I haven’t watched this season) did it the right way. Excellent lesson for us all, here.

  • Mind if I lighten this up? Since this blog post is about the show Survivor, I am remind of this clip which I find hilarious, but which ruffled some feathers.
    It’s from from Curb Your Enthusiasm, where Colby Donaldson, who got 2nd place in the 2nd season of Survivor, is arguing with a man who is a Survivor of a different kind: he was in a Nazi concentration camp. They argue who about who had it worse. Very uncomfortable to watch, and that’s why it’s funny.