Texas Buddha and Amy Jones were driving through the night to have her beloved Cocker Spaniel, Jerry, put to sleep. TB was driving while Amy sat in the back seat comforting her whimpering dog.
After a long silence, Amy, out of nowhere, said, “This is why I don’t believe in God.”
TB looked up in the rear view mirror, “That’s fine, Amy.”
Amy continued, “There’s too much pain in the world. I don’t believe in some invisible person who watches over us to keep anything bad from happening.”
After a pause, TB said, “I don’t either.”
Amy suddenly leaned forward and erupted in anger, “Then why do you use the word ‘God’ at all. Why can’t you just accept things the way they are? We’re born by accident, we grope through our lives by accident, and then we die by accident. Nobody up there cares.”
Several miles passed before TB responded, “Amy, have you ever seen a red tide?
Amy wasn’t sure she wanted to hear one of TB’s lessons right then, but she had asked him, so she finally muttered under her breath, “No, what is a red tide?”
“Sometimes algae can build up in the ocean and turn the water red or brown. Some of the algae have phosphorus in them, or something, and so the waves can glow at night.
“I remember a red tide I saw on a starless, moonless night. Everything was pitch black, I could not see the ocean or the sky, but when the waves broke, it looked like glowing beings were coming into existence and then disappearing again. I realized that this is the human condition. We cannot see the laws of nature written invisibly upon everything tying it all together. To us, every being seems to come out of nowhere and to disappear into nowhere. So, we celebrate when a being is born, and we grieve when a being passes away. All the while we are oblivious to the dark bottomless ocean of being undergirding it all.
“I use the word ‘God’ not because I believe there is such a being, but because I want to remember being itself. I want to remember that underneath the myriad shifting forms there is a seamless web of which we are all an expression. We cannot know what it is, but we must never forget that it is.
“And the universe is not indifferent to us, Amy. Everything interacts with everything else because we are not really separate beings. We are all tiny ephemeral expressions of being itself. When we love one other and care for one other we express that invisible ground of our being. So Amy, so on behalf of the rest of the universe, I’m sorry you are losing your friend. I truly am.”
The next ten miles, TB felt Amy’s hand on his shoulder.