Something about the idea of time travel captures my imagination.
The thought of being able to travel back through time to visit or change the past—maybe to reverse that big mistake I made in High School, for example—is pretty awesome. Or how about travelling forward through time to preview the future, so I can better meet it when it comes? That would be pretty sweet.
Which is why I’m a sucker for sci-fi, and in particular time travel movies. Science fiction has been exploring time travel for decades.
Over the years, I’ve watched all the Terminator and Back to the Future flicks. I’ve sat through the newest rendition of The Time Machine, sobbed through The Lake House and The Time Traveler’s Wife, brooded through Twelve Monkeys, laughed through Ground Hog Day, mused through The Butterfly Effect, rolled my eyes through Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, cheered through the new Star Trek, and cringed through Timeline, Next, and A Sound of Thunder. This summer a new time travel flick called Looper is set to hit the silver screen, and I’ll be all over it. Same with the upcoming Men In Black 3. Or maybe Sound of My Voice. And Safety Not Guaranteed.
This time travel thing keeps coming up in our culture, doesn’t it? It seems to resonate with people from all walks of life.
Ever wonder why?
I’ll let you in on an explosive little secret: Science fiction knows something we’ve forgotten, something so revolutionary that it sounds ridiculous to speak the words out loud:
Time travel is not only possible, it’s normal.
We’re jumpers, us humans. Time travellers. It’s fun to say that out loud:
I am a time traveller.
Science fiction resonates because it’s describing (with a few flashing buttons and smoke machines thrown in) how life really works. Dr. Who, it turns out, isn’t that unique. We’re all time lords to one degree or another. Which makes me the time travelling pastor. I like the ring of that: The Time Travelling Pastor.
Cue quirky theme song. But it’s true. I’ve time travelled countless times. Dozens today, in fact.
So have you.
Now, it’s our minds that do the travelling, not our bodies, but still—time travel is like Corn Flakes, like brushing our teeth, like breathing. We jump “back in time” whenever we remember that magical summer at the lake. We slip forward in time whenever we plan a birthday party, worry about a meeting, or plan our will. It happens when we forgive, when we pray, when we say thank-you. In fact, according to recent Harvard research by Matthew Killingsworth, we spend almost fifty percent of our mental energies thinking about doing something other than what we’re doing, or being somewhere other than where we are.
Our minds wander. We know that. But our thoughts don’t just wander to other places. They wander into other times.
And back again.
The problem is, just like in the movies, we tend to botch our time travel. These mistakes ripple into our present moments, causing emotional pain as they go. But just like people do in the movies, we can learn to time travel more effectively. As we do, awesome things will ripple through the timeline of our real lives. Things like peace, joy, and purpose.
Little by little, that’s what’s happening to me. Tune in tomorrow to learn The Five Indispensable Axioms of Time Travel.
From the time travelling pastor.
Please comment: What’s your favourite time travel movie? And why?
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