My Thoughts on Survivor, the Series:
Have to admit to you that I didn’t watch the first series of Survivor until the final two-hour episode. My thoughts after watching it was, “you dope, you should have watched the whole thing, this is really cool”. So for the second series that just finished, I tried to watch each Thursday night.
Like others, I got things to do so I limit my TV time. However, I can make an exception for something that, at least in my estimation, is closer to the “game of life” than it is a game of Survival. Pick on me if you will, but I like the concept of playing out the game under the big sky with lots of adventure, and enough hardship to see what you are really made of.
Being a fan of the bible, I especially like what James has to say in James 1:2-3 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”.
The winner of Survivor of course was Tina Wesson. If you followed the show, and had to pick someone who had the savvy to persevere until the end, it would have been Tina. My kids were very disappointed when Colby didn’t win, since he had become like a hero of the Outback. However, in my estimation, Colby did win, and has developed the ability to see that he indeed did just that.
Certainly winning a million dollars, and the fame for such a feat would be a big draw. However, each of us, Survivor contestant or not are playing out the game of life. This became most evident during the last immunity challenge; Colby had the chance to pick Tina, or Keith as the person to challenge for the money and the title. As the Associated Press said in their comments in the next morning’s paper, “Colby made a final miscalculation when he picked Tina”. Colby did no such thing.
At that point in the game, Colby had stopped playing Survivor, and started back playing the game of life. He knew exactly what he was doing, and he made the correct choice. Colby had the chance to pick fame and fortune over a true bond of friendship, and he chose wisely.
If you consider the overall view of what each person gained or lost, you would have to say that many of the Survivor contestants were winners. Keith gained a clear perspective on life that became more and more evident in the end. Roger showed that he was morally and ethically a stand up guy, despite the potential to show otherwise. Elizabeth came in a cheerful, nice, full of life person, and showed us all you can stay that way even under long-term stress. While Michael, who many thought was the most likely Survivor, did have to leave prematurely, he said himself he won more from the experience than any amount of money.
Not everyone of course came out so well in the end. One couldn’t help but feel for Deb as she broke down in the final group interview. Being the first one booted off took a heavy toll on her. She said the press tore her apart, and she suffered a major blow to her inner strength. I’m sure others besides the press were hard on her too. My hope for her is that when the dust settles, she will know that she took the chance, and gave it her best. Most importantly, as Teddy Roosevelt would have said, she rose above the cold and lifeless souls that know neither victory nor defeat.
Certainly we have all become a bit too soft, and may need a little perseverance added to our diet. As God directed James to say, the ability to become a full and complete person must come through trial. I’m thankful that Survivor reminds us of that very thing.