Katherine was an average girl, to the rest of the world but to her husband she was everything. They were married right after they graduated from high school, the ceremony was low budget but big on sentiment and earnestness. They were in love and no one seeing them together could deny what they saw. A few months later it was no surprise when they announced that Katherine was pregnant. Talk about glowing with life, Katherine gave that phrase new meaning.
Matt was a good provider and Katherine made his small paycheck go as far as she could. It was only a matter of time and they were able to afford a down payment on the home of their dreams. Granted it was a fixer-upper but Matt was handy and what Katherine didn’t know how to do already she would learn, you could count on that.
Thrift shop clothing made-over, there was really not a lot that wasn’t transformed in Kathy’s clever hands. Second-hand furniture, a few yards of fabric bought at a discount and visitors had no idea that what they were seeing wasn’t the latest style. Gourmet meals prepared on a budget with a healthy helping of coupons and the garden in the back yard went a long way to helping stretch their money that much further. Matt was so proud of his wife he bragged about her abilities everywhere he went.
It was at an event for the office when Matt was bragging, as usual, that he saw the hurt enter her eyes. It was that night that he vowed he would do all he could to make it leave and never come back. One overheard conversation, one hurtful phrase that hung in the air, she should never have heard, and why did they say it, Matt didn’t care why should anyone else?
“Sure she can stretch their money and keeps a nice home. But look at her! Seven kids in 10
years. She certainly has let herself go!”
He saw the tears well up in her eyes as she sought his gaze for, what confirmation of what she’d heard, denial? His eyes did meet hers across the room as he slowly and deliberately made his way to her. When he reached her side he made this declaration in a voice that was loud enough for the whole room to hear:
“She did. She let herself go. My wife let herself go to our life together. She let herself go to pregnancy and back. Not once but seven times for me and for the glory of God. Each of those times she let herself go to the service of the love of me and our children. She let herself go to school plays, soccer games, PTO meetings, and piano lessons. She let herself go to meals that could be prepared on a budget so that we could live within our means. She let herself go, all out, when it was time to celebrate our family; births, Christmas, baptisms, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, promotions and all the other things that mean family. She let herself go because she never took time for the gym or working out or any of those other things that meant selfish to her. Rather all of her time meant husband and children. So if the way that she looks means something bad to you than you all need to examine how you use your own time. I am proud of my wife and the wise way that she has used her time and how she has let herself go.”
After this long speech Matt took Kathy, who was sobbing into his shoulder by this time, by the arm and took her home. He wanted her to know that the opinions of others mattered not at all to him. To him she was still everything.
She had let herself go. She had let herself go through life right beside her husband. She had gone where he had led her and he was happy with the woman that he had walking beside him. When they got home and he looked into her eyes he saw that the pain that had been there at the party had left and had been replaced by a look of love and wonder.
“I have often wondered,” said Kathy, “what you thought about the way that I look. But you have never complained. You are always telling people you are so proud of me that I never gave it a second thought until I heard that comment tonight. It didn’t bother me for myself but I was embarrassed for you. I didn’t want you to be ashamed.”
Matt just looked at her and smiled.
“I could never be ashamed of you. Looks are not what I married you for. You are what I married you for. If you could love me all these years in spite of my deformity….”
Matt’s voice just trailed off there.
Kathy just knelt on the floor in front of him and kissed the place where his arm should have been.
“You are perfect and I have never thought of you otherwise. Why can the world forgive you such a ‘defect’ and condemn a few extra pounds?”
With that said they both prepared for bed. After climbing under the covers Matt buried his face in Kathy’s hair and silently thanked God that he had met her so many years ago. While he was thinking that Kathy was thanking God for the very same thing.