As the Memorial Day themed church service began this morning, I just knew I was going to be in the right mood to cry during the movie in the afternoon. Some days ya’ just know.
The opening sequence confirmed what I suspected—but the dam held.
Oceans, forests, hills, deserts, mountains, jungles, and, oh yes, skies are the appropriate natural descriptors for how much emotional size was packed into each and every scene. Skies and skies of feeling, packed onto a smaller and smaller IMAX screen.
Still, squinted eyes were able to hold back the waters.
Somewhere in the training sequences I consciously decided that I was going to just let it happen, no matter who might look over and see.
When Phoenix has the birdstrike, her quick identification of the malfunction and even quicker reaction to save the aircraft struck a chord and finally a few tears came out. It felt amazing.
Then when Maverick surprisingly appears to run the course in 2:15, there was no holding back. No sobbing, mind you. But definitely communication from my soul in the form of slow building tear bombs dropping down my cheeks.
I wanted Maverick to succeed. He’d been talking like a boss the whole movie, and finally he was going to show the world that he could back up his words with action.
My life looks very, very different than it did leading up to and during my time in US Air Force pilot training. It’s astonishing to me to even consider who I was then and who I am today. But more astonishing is how this movie affected me. It brought to the surface something long buried deep within.
That something is the following fact: Pilot training was the last time in my life where I wasn’t embarrassed to do my best.
We all did our best.
Not anymore. That’s not allowed.
I’m up to fifty pushups five times during the walks with my toddler, these days. Right out in public. Fifty. Cars driving by. Same spots. Neighbors able to see. Fifty. All the way down and up. Fifty. I’m forty years old and struggle to do fifty pushups, but I also know that not one person who may happen to see the struggle can do more than me.
That’s the closest event (maybe these blogs when I’m in the mood) I can consider as one in which I give my best anymore. Even my best friend from college doesn’t want to play when I really put effort in.
But my pilot training class of ‘05? We did our best.
What’s changed? Now that’s a weeping good question.