Green: What will going back to the future look like?


One of the best dates I ever went on in high school was to the movie “Back to the Future.” Not because of my date, who was a hunky blonde, blue-eyed football player. He was nice, and I planned to marry him for about two whole weeks until we had a young lover’s quarrel about I-don't-remember-what and the whole relationship disintegrated into bits of ash, floating in the wind. But one Friday night before the doomsday destruction of our love, he took me to that movie, and held my hand, and I barely even knew when he got up to refill the popcorn because I was so absorbed in the on-screen drama.

Renae Green column

If you haven’t seen the movie, stop reading this article right now, find it, and watch it. I promise it’s playing somewhere on your Roku or cable TV or even YouTube. After you’ve finished, you’ll want to watch "Back to the Future 2" and 3 as well. The series features a young Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, a typical, all-American boy who deals with nerdy parents and bullies. But the not-so-typical part is his friendship with an old scientist (Christopher Lloyd) who just happens to be working on time travel, which of course takes place in a DeLorean.

The plot of the original movie takes Marty to a past time when his parents were teens, and Marty shakes things up a bit to give them a similar, yet better future. But his interference disrupts the time-space continuum, which sets up movies 2 and 3.

For the past year and a half, I feel like our world has had a time-space continuum disruption. COVID-19 did a number on us, forcing us into a mask-wearing, toilet-paper-hoarding isolation. Right now, as schools, grocery stores and restaurants promise to return to pre-Covid normalcy, I feel like I’m climbing into that DeLorean to head back to the future. The future, because it hasn’t happened yet, and back, because things will hopefully look like they once did, before the whole world went amok.

But like Marty, I hope these events have shaken things up enough to send us into a better version of the future. Now that we know what loneliness and isolation feel like, I hope we’ll all keep watch for those who are lonely even in a crowd. Now that we know what a lack of funds feels like, I hope we’ll be more aware of those who are struggling, and be more generous with our resources.

This world pandemic has brought more drama than any Hollywood blockbuster could hope to create. If someone had written a screenplay with the events of the last year and a half, the script would have been rejected for lack of believability. But here we are, and our reality has been so stinky, no amount of toilet paper could improve the smell.

There’s an African proverb that says “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.” If this is true, the opposite must apply. We’ve been through some tumultuous storms. Have those crashing waves honed our life skills? Have they better equipped us to sail, back to the future, into a better version of our reality?

I hope so. I suppose only time will tell.

“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.

Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly perfect children, and far-too-many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com