My Thoughts on 'The Good Place' Finale

How can it be Friday already? It feels like I just published my Monday post. For as slow as January was, the first week of February is flying faster than Maverick buzzing the Tower. Clay and I finally were able to watch The Good Place series finale last night. For those not familiar, The Good Place was created by Michael Schur, who is known for his work on The OfficeParks and Recreation, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, all of which we adore. Themes of ethics, philosophy, and what it means to be human were explored and woven throughout The Good Place and the series did a fantastic job developing characters – both primary and secondary. The writing was extremely smart and hilarious and while the episodes could be mind-bending complex and difficult to digest in one sitting, the overarching theme of the show was quite simple…what does it mean to be a good person?

There was one scene that will likely resonate with me for the rest of my (hopefully long) life. Eleanor and Chidi are cuddled up on a couch, watching the sun set over a body of water surrounded by mountains – spending their last moments together before Chidi walks through the arch, into the unknown. Chidi tells Eleanor, “Picture a wave. In the ocean. You can see it, measure it, its height, the way the 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 in the shore and it’s gone. But the water is still there. The wave was just a different way for the water to be, for a little while.

The idea of a wave being only a temporary form for the water stems from an old Buddhist metaphor. Each wave has a beginning and an end. When the wave breaks on the shore, it will no longer exist. But the wave was only a different way for the water to be for that moment in time. The wave crashing into the shore is simply how the wave returns to its true self – water.  I was wiping away the tears falling from the outer corners of my eyes when Clay commented on how deep the episode was becoming, which is impressive because a few minutes earlier, there was a hilarious line about the most human thing a person can do is text, “I’m five minutes away” when you haven’t even left the house yet.

I like to think of myself as a seeker. It is difficult for me to accept some of the traditional answers that my Christian faith provides to certain questions. I am constantly asking questions and trying to soak up as much as I can about this world and beyond. I love to read about faiths other than my own and experiencing how other cultures approach the seemingly nuances of existence. I’ve written in the past about how I no longer feel invincible. Age has not only granted me maturity but also the realization of my mortality. Each year, I try to make sense of all the things I want to do and all the things I likely never will – my purpose, my meaning, my reason.

I walked away from The Good Place series finale comforted by my current wave form. I don’t know how much time I have left but I suppose it is the continued uncertainty that makes life terrifying and beautiful and everything in between. Ordinary life really is far from ordinary. The ability to build relationships and have a profound impact on those around us is the ultimate human experience. How lucky are we to take on this form for a little while?