NBC’s The Good Place had its series finale (“Whenever You’re Ready) this week. The show is all about trying to describe what comes to us after this place. Do we go to the Good Place or the Bad Place. How is that determined? And many other philosophical questions along the way. It’s really been one of the best shows on TV in the last four years.
Two of the main characters, Eleanor and Chidi had a scene in which they said goodbye to each other for the last time. I’m going to try to do this as spoiler free as I can … but I just have to share a quote from that scene because it is powerful.
Eleanor asks Chidi for some sort of wisdom that will make her less sad in their goodbye. He says:
Chidi – “Picture a wave … in the ocean. You know you can see it, measure its height and the way that sunlight refracts when it passes through. And it’s there and you can see it, you know what it is. It’s a wave.
And then it crashes into shore and it’s gone. But the water is still there.
The wave is just a different way for the water to be for a little while.
That’s one conception of death for a Buddhist. The wave returns to the ocean, where it came from and where it’s supposed to be.”
Eleanor – “Not bad Buddhist.”
Chidi – “Not bad. None of this is bad.”
It is a great way to describe where we might go after it’s all said and done here on Earth.
But I think they left something out of the metaphor. The wave, when it crashes into the shore, moves the sand. Sometimes the wave will leave something from the ocean behind on the beach. Maybe a smooth rock, a petoskey stone, a stick. Something that someone will find and take with them.
Everytime the wave leaves some sort of impact on the beach. And then it goes back to the water. Where it’s supposed to be.
How appropriate for this message to be shared with us the week that Kobe Bryant, Gigi Bryant, and seven other people died in a helicopter crash, in the month that my Aunt-in-Law passed, in the year that a good family friend and former babysitter for my daughter passed.
None of it is bad. They went back to where they’re supposed to be and they have left such an impact on the beach that we’re walking along.