--from The Message, John 17:21--
A certain kind of miracle occurs quite frequently at this time of year in Northwest Florida. It involves an exchange between a group of disciplined, highly trained pilots and their audiences at air show practices which take place behind the National Naval Aviation Museum. The toughest cookie in the jar might very well crumble after witnessing one of these practice sessions. It's not enough to just see the death-defying midair stunts the pilots perform. You have to hear the roar of the engines and the simultaneous gasps of wonder coming from hundreds of people sitting around you on the bleachers. And then there are the running commentaries from the volunteers on site. They keep you informed as to how many "G's" the pilots must overcome as they perform some of their maneuvers. Seven or eight, I heard someone say. And all of that overcoming doesn't come easy. Their workout schedule would put any professional sports player to shame. One of the volunteers said that in order to maintain control over the joystick (throttle?) of the jet, a pilot must be able to curl a 35-pound free weight and hold it in that curled position for five minutes. Or did she say 45 minutes? The more I watched and heard about these disciples of the air on this Maundy Thursday morning, the more I wanted to believe that it was the latter.