Monday, October 11, 2010

"The Spitting Image of my Father"

"Rosemary's granddaughter, the spitting image of my father.... it's all a part of me, that's who I am."

From a very early age, I could easily tell that I did not resemble my mother, and my older sister was an exact replica. My compassionate, compassionate sister realized this as well and mercilessly tried to convince me that I was adopted from Africa (this is really a post for a completely different day). So that left dear old dad for me to resemble, and although we were both the same skin tone and had the deep brown eyes down pat, I vowed that I was nothing like my dad. I mean, he was just a goober. I was much cooler than that. Oh, how time tells you differently.
Yes, throughout the past few years, I have come to realize that I am 100% Jamie McKenzie's daughter and "the spitting image of my father." Yet, I am not referring to an external spitting image but an internal spitting image. There's three aspects of my father that I encompass to the bone. His extreme goofiness, his tough facade but huge heart, and his passion for prayer.
First of all, I am Jamie McKenzie made-over in the sense of goofiness. For crying out loud, my blog is named after Lucille Ball, and I write about "Lucy Moments." Obviously, I am extremely goofy. I can still see my dad dancing around with his obnoxious Auburn Tiger whenever Auburn would score a touchdown when I was little. I see him picking me up, spinning me around, shaking me upside down, and making me growl at him before a soccer game when I am eight years old. I see him, the man with no millimeter of vocal abilities, singing "Layla" and "Don't Stop Believing" when he would drive around and his obnoxious need to control the radio at all times (which I also inherited). People can often poke fun at him, but he has learned to handle it like a champ. Likewise, I am the girl who dropped a shoe in the school toilet my first day of eighth grade, ran into a locker door staring at the boy who I thought was responsible for hanging the moon when I was thirteen, and face planted outside of a Casting Crowns concert in Jackson my sophomore year of high school. Yes, I am just as goofy as my sweet dad.
Secondly, my dad tries to come across as tough, but he has one of the biggest hearts in the world. He might have a temper at times, but he would give you not only the shirt off his back, but his pants, his shoes, and probably even his socks. I smiled last Christmas when we were playing with a family friend's baby, and just when I get to hold her, my dad comes up behind me, practically takes her from me, slowly twirls around with her, and starts talking to her. My other personal favorite is how he rants and raves about our sweet dog, but when he thinks no one else is watching, he will share his peanut-butter crackers with Ellie and talk to her in the mornings. I try to say I didn't get this from him, but I know that I also can put up a tough front and have a temper at times. I try to be a fighter, yet at core, I am the one who in secret is sharing crackers with a dog. Yet, my dad's tough front has also taught me to fight for the important things in life and to never compromise who I am, so even toughness has its perks.
Yet, I cannot even think of my dad without thinking of prayer. The most fond memory of my
dad, so far, is rather simple but has meant the world to me over the years. Every single morning when my dad would drive me to elementary school, he would make me pray. Now, the toughness I just mentioned would come out as I yelled at him and asked "Why aren't you closing your eyes? I have to close mine." Oh, how smart I was to think my dad could drive with his eyes shut. Yet, every morning, we prayed, and this has been a constant theme with my dad. No meal is started until a prayer has happened. I can never leave to go back to Oxford until he has prayed. Two of these times fondly stand out in my mind and are making me tear up as I write this. The last memory and time that I ever saw my grandfather (my dad's dad) alive, we were about to leave Alabama to come back home. I was halfway out the door, and my dad called me back in to pray with my grandfather. The three of us held hands as my dad and I prayed, and less than a month later, my grandfather was gone. I would not have this beautiful memory if it had not been for my dad's faith. The second was one night last year when my dad came to eat with me. We had already said goodbye, and I was about to drive off when I saw my dad come running and knocking on my window. If you know my dad, you know he does NOT run, so I knew this must be important. I rolled down my window, and he said, "I forgot to pray for you." My heart broke instantly. As soon as I rolled my window up, I burst into tears. From a very early age, my dad taught me the power and passion of prayer, and for that, I will be eternally grateful (literally).
Now that I have recognized I am a spitting image of my earthly father, I should also strive to be a spitting image of my Heavenly father. I mean is that not our goal in life and purpose in life- to be the spitting image of Christ. Now obtaining this completely is impossible, and we fail on a daily basis. Yet, I think my three characterizations of my dad could apply to this as well. We should show the world the "goofy side" of our Heavenly father. So many people have a misperception of Christ as restrictions and rules and boundaries. Yet, God is the one who created laughter. He created smiles. He even has a sense of humor. Trust me. Also, although God is tough and disciplines like a father, he is the heart of humanity. He is love. He gave more than the shirt off his back. He gave his SON. Finally, God wants to teach you the power and passion of prayer. He wants to hear you pray every single day. He wants to talk to you. I love my dad more than anything in the world, and God knew exactly what he was doing when he planned for Jamie McKenzie to be my father. However, I hope that one day when I get to those big gates, I hear my other Father say, "Well done, thank you for being faithful and striving to be a spitting image."
Who will you be a spitting image of?

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