I was recently watching an episode of the last season of The Good Place (If you haven’t watched it yet, it is truly great. A TV show about moral philosophy!), and the main characters finally get to the Good Place to find that everyone there is, in fact, miserable.
“Having everything kills passion, excitement and love.”
You show up in a paradise where everything is provided forever just to become a joyless husk. A fully pleasured zombie with nothing of value to add to society or your own development. Nothing really to do that holds any significance.
No!!! Well, that’s not what I planned for paradise!
We think we want everything to be easy. To have everything given to us. To eliminate struggle and strife. To have a lovely pool to sit by all day long with a good book and never ending Mai Tai’s.
But do we REALLY??
What does this do to our psyche? To our drive and outlook on our life, the universe and our place in it? How does it affect curiosity and creativity? Social relationships and love? I don’t know about you, but I would get mighty bored knowing that I never had anything else to do for eternity, and that I didn’t even have the choice of being productive. Forever and ever.
Every human is a little bit sad all the time because we know we’re gonna die, but that knowledge is what actually gives life meaning. This actually allows us to live, and live fully. Without the heartache, the bumps and bruises and things that downright almost kill us, what do we really have to live for?
And, as we get older, we have more to grieve and more scars. In fact, we become part of a “scar clan”. However, this means we have also lived and loved more, because without love, there can be no grief or deep injury. And, it means that we have a like-scared clan who we can hold the grief and difficulty that is inevitable in this life, with. This is one of the holy acts of community. To sit, to hold and to share in grief. Without it we are profoundly less human.
So, as Becca Stevens says, grieve deeply and grieve with abandon. And remember, vacations are only special because they end. Our loved ones are more precious because of the finite time we have with them. Our favorite ice cream tastes so good, because in a few licks, it will be gone; a sweet memory of indulgence and joy that we can come back to will life isn’t so sweet.