“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. You know it's one conception of death for Buddhists: the wave returns to the ocean, where it came from and where it's supposed to be.” Chidi, The Good Place.
Did you know that all the water on earth -- the water here at this very moment -- is the same water that was present 4.5 billion years ago when the earth was formed?
Water is marvelously finite.
The same watery "molecules of life" sustained 165 million years of the dinosaur and more recently 300,000 years of homo sapiens. Through multiple extinction events, the creation of species, the crowning of messiahs and prophets, the rise and fall of empires, through war and peace, this water has existed in an endless virtuous cycle.
Water is everywhere.
Liquid in our oceans, covering 71 percent of the earth's surface, liquid from our kitchen sink taps, yet solid in our glaciers and ice trays, water rises to vapor, transforms into clouds and falls back to the earth as rain, snow, sleet, or hail.
And we are made of water, beginning life in a liquid womb, entering the world after our mothers' water breaks. Once born, 70 percent of our human selves live as, cry as, urinate as, and ultimately dissolve as water.
And too water is out 'there'. Our search for other life in the universe is at its heart, a search for life sustaining water. As NASA scientists say: "Follow the water".
So I suppose we have all been drinking at the same watering hole no matter our moment on earth's geological timeline, or even our location in the universe. Our planet, and perhaps the universe, is one big perfectly designed recycling plant, one which feels very intelligently designed. During my years as an atheist, I lived in ignorance of its awesome perfection.
Which brings us back to Chidi's quote -- a remarkably resonating metaphor for the cycle of life. We are born of water and return to the water. The thought conjures the comforts of the womb...or the sweet feeling of toes stuck in warm sand, gaze upon the shoreline, cold and salty margarita in hand.
But whose life cycle is Chidi speaking about -- only human? Homo sapiens have been on this earth a mere .007 percent of earth's life. We live in a planetary design which preceded us by billions of years, nurturing among other living things, dinosaurs which roamed the earth for an astounding 165 million years.
And so I propose that this intelligent design was created and exists, not for man, but for all living things that have or ever will exist. This does not contradict the existence of 'God', rather it expands it. 'God's' love expressed through the gift of an intelligent design, built to last billions of years, for trillions of creatures and living things.
And so it occurs to me that we have a lot more in common with dinosaurs than I have ever before considered.
For we are all 'God's' creatures, drinking from the same fountain of life.
Stories from the Snap Shack Issue 13 (August 18, 2022).