What Would You See?… by JoAnn

A booth with two chairs and a table

Recently I was sitting alone in a little local diner, enjoying the $3.99 daily special.  It consisted of a barbecue chicken sandwich, one side (I chose the homemade potato salad), and a drink.  

While I was enjoying this special treat, in walks a husband and wife.  I immediately became interested in their interactions with one another.  The husband found a desired table for the two of them, sat his wife down, made sure she was comfortable, and went up to the counter to order.  He gave his order, received two paper cups, and went on to fill them with soft drinks.  He brought them back to his wife.  She asked if they had a certain item that she had wanted him to order.  He very sweetly said, “No, but I will get you some later”.   When their food was ready, he went to the counter to retrieve it, and came back to serve his wife.  They enjoyed a lovely meal together.

So why am I writing about this?  Well, it’s not every day that I see a woman treated so gentlemanly by her husband.  In fact, and very sadly, I see much, much more of the opposite.  Usually the wife is always the one taking care of the husband even when they are eating out.  I once saw a couple come in with 5 small kids at this same restaurant.  The mother looked dog tired.  How wonderful for her that she doesn’t have to cook dinner tonight I thought.  But she retrieved the food and began serving each child and her husband.  No rest for that weary wife, and how sad for her.  It broke my heart.  

But what really got my attention with this particular couple was the fact that the husband was not your average Joe so to speak.  You see, this man must have weighed at least 400 pounds.  He was so large, that it did indeed surprise me that he could walk so well.  Just one of his calves was the size of my granddaughter.  His thigh was as wide as me, and I am not a small lady.  He had to sit on the edge of the booth seat.  His wife by the way, was half my size.

And if you are wondering, yes, he did order a lot of food.  Probably enough to feed an average family of five.  

When the couple had finished their meal, the husband rose to clear the table.  As he struggled to bring himself upright, he took that moment, half way up, to kiss his wife on the forehead.  I sat there, teary eyed, at what I had just witnessed the past half hour.  

This man so impressed me in more ways than I can explain in words.  Not only was he an exceptional gentleman to his wife, but he was well mannered, soft spoken, and was dressed so very neat and clean in what appeared to be a work uniform.  

Many people would look at his size and immediately think “Lazy”.  But he was not in any way, shape or form.  Why do we judge people so harshly on appearances?  What would you have seen when this obese man walked into the restaurant?  Would you have noticed his neat and tidy work uniform?  Would you have noticed the way in which he treated his wife or how polite he was to the employees there?  Or would you have only seen his 400+ pounds, the large amount of food he ordered, or him struggling to get up from the booth?   

This experience made me so sad.  I am pretty sure that this man does not want to be obese.  He does not enjoy being judged in every area of his life because of his size.  But people will judge him, and then go off and do their sins in private.  We all have our addictions; the obese man’s is just out there for the world to see.  I understand because I know how he must feel.  I have fought obesity and chronic illness since my childhood.  I have been unjustly called lazy.  The looks, the laughs, the whispers, the pointing, they all HURT.  And the words.  The old saying that sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never harm me, is a crock.  Words are like swords or fresh water.  They can either cut you, or nourish you.  The Bible says that words bring one of two things, life, or death.  

I know I learned a lot from my experience that day.  I hope everyone in that restaurant did.  I saw a beautiful man who loves and respects not only his wife, but himself as well.  That is all anyone should be able to see.