Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Talking to the Colonel

I don't think I've ever written about this, and only a few people know this, but ever since I was a child, when I'm praying to Heavenly Father, the image that I see is that of Colonel Harland Sanders. That may sound sacrilegious, but that's always the image I see in my head.

It probably stems from the fact that my family frequented Kentucky Fried Chicken quite a bit when I was a child, and I associate good times with my family with KFC. Of course, as a kid I was left with the impression that God was man all in white with a white beard, and looking at the iconic logo of Colonel Sanders, he fits the bill (although I guess I didn't really think about the fact that the Supreme Being of the world wouldn't need eyeglasses).

And when I look at Colonel Sanders and, more specifically, the famous KFC logo of him, he's smiling, jovial, grandfatherly, and relatable, all attributes I felt my Heavenly Father would have. To a child who had no concrete view of what Heavenly Father actually looked like, I guess Colonel Sanders seemed like the closest thing I could relate to, and therefore, he became a kind of proxy for me.

Of course, now that I'm older the rational part of me assumes that God probably doesn't look like Colonel Sanders, but the image is so imprinted in my mind now that this is still who I see in my mind when I pray, and I actually find it very comforting. It makes me think of my Father as a relatable and accessible individual rather than some distant and unreachable being. Even though God is probably much more fit than Colonel Sanders and undoubtedly doesn't require corrective lenses to see, I like the idea that my Heavenly Father is this warm, grandfatherly figure.

Now I have no idea what the real Harland Sanders was like; this is simply the image I had of him as a child, and that image somehow got transferred into my relationship with God. I don't tell people about this very often because it probably sounds weird, but it is what it is, and I don't apologize for it, and now it's out there for the entire blogging world to know.

I also don't think God is offended by the image I've created in my head of him. After all, Harland Sanders is one of his children, too, created in his image, and the ideas he represents for me are all positive ones that I feel God would have as attributes. And it's not as though I'm even worshipping or praying to the actual Colonel Sanders. It's simply his face and demeanor I see in my head when I pray.

I liken it to something George Burns says to John Denver's character in the movie Oh, God! "Not what you expected, huh? I picked a look you could understand. For someone else I would have looked different. I could do any face, voice, whatever. I could even be a woman." - his point being that to John Denver's character, he appears as an old man because that's an image John Denver's character will understand and relate to. I'm sure all over the world, God looks very different in various people's heads when they pray to him. He probably doesn't care so much what image they've conjured up; just so long as they're praying to Him, communicating with Him, and keeping Him in their hearts. At least, that is what I believe.

Anyway, until I see my real Heavenly Father in the flesh, for me right now, he looks like Colonel Sanders. Hope that isn't too odd.


Ren said...

It's fitting because the first KFC franchise was in Salt Lake City, owned by Pete Harman. Thus, it's divine providence! ;)

J G-W said...

I like this..!

I actually met the real Colonel Sanders. It was a total chance encounter. My family and I were in New York City on vacation. We stepped into an elevator, and my dad tapped me on the shoulder. He said, "Look up!"

I looked up, and there was Colonel Sanders all smiles. He handed each of us little autographed photos before stepping out of the elevator.

Gay LDS Actor said...

True, true, Ren.

J-G-W, thanks for sharing your experience. It makes me happy to know that the real Colonel Sanders was kind to you.

Sara said...

Great post!

JonJon said...

I was kind of hoping that J G-W would say that the Colonel handed each of them a drumstick.

Fantastic post, I love it!

Stephen said...

I picked a look you could understand. -- I really think that captures how God looks.

Stephen said...

I picked a look you could understand. -- I think that is the key to how God looks.