Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Etymologically Speaking

I love words. I do. I love to see them written, I love to learn where they come from, I love that such simple little symbols have such treasure in their formation, just a surprise waiting to happen. One of the phrases I really like is (drum roll, please!): Spittin' Image. I was and am the spittin' image of my mom, and of course I hated to hear it. Now my kids hear it all the time. I think most kids cringe when they hear it. Sometimes I laugh and smile and without catching myself in a reflection I feel like I look like my mom, thinking, "I'm laughing just like her right now." And I'm realizing don't mind as much as I used to.

The meaning hiding inside this little phrase, Spittin' Image, is a task I have pledged my best attempt to achieve. Most people can define the phrase but it was a surprise to me to learn that this phrase is probably a slightly morphed contraction of 'Spirit & Image.' Hmmm. Now that gives me a completely different view of the phrase. It changes the phrase from a back-woods, slightly gross sounding expression to one that a person might actually want to be referred.

I received some bad news last week. My dad has stage IV cancer, which means that it is, at this point, inoperable. He's in Pennsylvania, I'm in Minnesota. There is nothing physically I can do, but I am praying. And my friends are praying. Full of God's Holy Spirit, they are the Spirit and Image of Jesus to me as they raise their voice in prayer, as they hug and encourage, as they cry with me. I only hope I can be the spittin' image of Jesus' love, grace and mercy to the people in my life, especially my dad and family during this illness.

Father God, help me be Your spittin' image!

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