What if the past you could meet the present you today? What would they think about you? Would you meet what their expectations of you from then be now? Would things change? (despite messing up the whole time/space continuum…of course time and space is more a timey wimey wibbley wobbely thing but that’s for a different post).
I look back 20 years to my senior year in high school (so feel very old knowing I graduated almost 20 years ago) and think about who I thought I’d be by now. Maybe a world traveler. Maybe a published author. Maybe a lumberjack. I actually had no clue who I’d be. I had no real motivation to tell the truth–the epitome of a slacker. I ditched school so much that my final semester of my senior year I had to take 9 classes to graduate (back in high school by the time you got to your second semester of your senior year, all you really had was a few required classes and the rest were electives…I on the other hand had to go to night school to take classes). I never in a million years thought I’d be a pastor living in Michigan who taught a summer of English in eastern Europe or married with two great kids and a wonderful wife.
What would the you of then think of the you of now?
This is the premise of the comic series by Marvel called The All New X-Men. Which is funny because it’s made up of the original X-Men from the first original run. The original X-Men were Scott Summer, aka Cyclops (optic eye blasts–leader, positive idealist for the future); Jean Grey, aka Marvel Girl (telepathy, telekinesis, good heart, died a number of times, finally stayed dead); Bobby Drake, aka Ice Man (ice power, jokester, nice guy); Hank McCoy, aka Beast (animal qualities and strength, big hands, big feet, really smart and later turns blue and fuzzy, he’s a pacifist); then there’s Warren Worthington II, aka Angel (real wings, flies, nice guy).
A ton of things have happened since the original X-Men were formed by Professor X. Professor X brought the team together to help mutant kind interact and assimilate within everyone else. Basically, it’s a civil rights, racism thing played out in the comics. Mutants are born with special powers and feared by many who don’t know or understand. There have been constant battles, constant issues between regular people and mutantkind. It never ends well.
Then a string of events happened that changed the optimistic idealist that is Scott Summers. House of M happened where 99% of the mutant population lost their powers. No mutants were born after that. Then one was born which led to the Messiah War where everyone fights over the first mutant child born in years. After that fight, things seem to settle down. Until the stuff hits the fan and a huge cosmic force is headed to earth. The Avengers (Earth’s mightiest heroes) fear this cosmic force is coming for the mutant child. They go to take the mutant child into custody, which leads to the huge battle of Avengers vs X-Men.
(warning, spoilers ahead…maybe)
What happens at the end of Avengers vs X-Men is that Scott Summers becomes seen as a mutant terrorist and teams up with Magneto, the once arch-nemesis of the X-Men. Jean Grey’s been dead for years, Beast has mutated once again, and Ice Man is still a jokester but just older. Beast is frustrated with Scott and Ice Man wonders out loud what Scott’s younger self would think about his older self. This intrigues Beast, and so he goes back in time to bring the original young teenage X-Men to see who they’ve become.
It doesn’t go so well.
They don’t like what they see. And they change. Emotions run wild. Jean Grey learns her future and she isn’t happy. Scott sees who he becomes and doesn’t like it and wants to change it. Scott and Jean are supposed to fall in love, but Jean learns from the present day Beast that the younger Beast had a huge crush on her and so they kiss and things happen. Angle learns that something really really bad happens to him and he actually goes and joins the present day Scott Summers.
Basically, things change. The past doesn’t like the present. The ideals, the dreams, all the things they fought for became almost like a dystopian future we’ve always worried about.
Almost four years ago I was visiting out in California having coffee with an old high school friend I hadn’t seen in almost 20 years (stayed in contact via Facebook though.. yay! Facebook). He said to me a couple of times “I can’t believe you became a pastor…you of all people, a pastor?” Yeah. Scares me too.
If the flannel clad, work boot wearing, hard rock listening, comic book reading me from 20 years ago would meet me today (…actually…scary thing is, I still wear flannel, work boots, listen to some hard rock, and read comics…that much hasn’t changed… which is kinda scary if you think about it…) what would he think? Would I match up to my expectations then for me now? (of course I didn’t have much expectations of myself for the future back then) Would I change what I would do? Would I make different decisions based upon who I am today?
The next question I wonder is if the me from now would see the me in the future, would I like what I saw? Would I meet up with who I thought I’d be? Would I turn out to be the father I wanted to be? Would I turn out to be the husband I try to be? What will I be like?
The All New X-Men who are the past X-Men have become all new because they saw who they become and don’t like it and want to change who they become. Will they? Or will they disrupt the whole time/space continuum and change the world, the universe itself?
Would I do the same?
In the end, I have to say que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be, the future’s not ours to see…
I’ll be now what I can to be who I need to be then being true to who I was then. Or something like that.