The Perfect Black Dress

By Reba Phelps

One of the unintentional perks of being divorced is that you have a lot of extra closet space. At first it was a really sad reminder that I no longer had a life partner and the open space seemed to be symbolic of the emptiness I was experiencing. Once I got my life together I decided to make use of the extra space and have a Fall-Winter closet and a Spring-Summer closet.

I then decided to divide my clothes into colors. Once they were properly divided, I then sub-divided them into categories of purpose. Tops, skirts, dresses, work pants, fun pants and workout clothes. Yes, that was the smallest category and it did not require a lot of space.

Immediately after the day long project took shape I stood in the small hallway that divides the two walk-in closets. I was so prepared to be in awe of my hard work. I was even mulling over the perfect quick-witted social media post that would surely garner one hundred likes or laughs.

But, while I stood there, I couldn’t help but notice that strangely enough…. my Fall-Winter closet looked identical to my Spring-Summer closet. There it was, laid out in black and black. All seasons. All black. If any of my friends are in need of stylish plus size funeral apparel please come visit me or if anyone feels the need to dress up as a female Johnny Cash, come see your girl.

I mentally tried to reason with myself. Black is classic. Black is season-less. Apparently, I carried that one a little too far. Last, but definitely not least, black is slimming. After lots of self-reflection there was really no good reason other than black was my comfort zone.

Some people will never know the full drama associated with women and their clothes.

I was reminded of this recently, while enjoying some mother-daughter shopping time. I was summonsed to assist my oldest daughter while she shopped for a dress for her cousin’s wedding. Every good mother knows that I was invited to pay for the dress and not help pick it out.

The evening quickly grew dramatic when she could not find a dress that fit or one that she liked. Nothing worked. It was a gruesome scene. She became very emotional and just wanted to leave. There is no cut deeper than not being able to find something that fits or being unaware that your size may have gone up a notch.

It was really hard to feel sorry for her at this point because she is drop dead gorgeous, has stunning eyes and a heart of gold. Being the supportive mother that I am I let her have the pity party for a few miles of interstate before I put on my detective’s hat.

How could someone be so incredibly upset over not finding a dress?

Unable to console her we just rode in silence. My youngest was enjoying her headphones in the back seat and was oblivious to the meltdown currently happening in the front seat beside me. At that moment, I just gently held her hand and began to pray for her. In the middle of prayer I realized that someone must have said something to her to make her feel this down about herself.

A mother’s intuition is always right.

She went on to disclose that a close family member made a comment about her weight the day before. At this point, I began to pray for myself. I was so angry because I too had been the recipient of these cutting comments. I knew exactly how she felt and I know exactly what the Bible says about us being Children of God, but my Zwolle nature had me plotting physical harm to this relative.

I was having a mini-war within. I take the mama bear role very serious.

After I took a few deeps breaths and reined in my anger I began to tell her how God sees us as his children and no where in the Bible does it mention that Christ only died for the petite or perfectly sized humans who are not carrying an extra pound. No where in the Bible does it mention that Christ is only coming back for the people who maintained the perfect BMI.

I reminded her that when people judge others merely by their outward appearance they are the ones with unrest and discontent in their heart.

After she let these reminders soak for a minute and peace began to wash over her I then offered to continue with the bodily harm route. We can keep praying together or we can tag team it. It was at that moment that I saw her smile return and the black cloud lifted.

The very next day she went to a local boutique and found the perfect black dress for the wedding and her mom pulled a black dress from her Spring-Summer-Fall-Winter closets to match her daughter. It was a perfect night. Black dresses and all.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Psalm 139:14


6 thoughts on “The Perfect Black Dress

  1. As I told Reba one Saturday when I met her, her stories are so relatable !! We mama bears can get alittle aggressive when someone messes with our cubs. Keep the great stores coming Reba 😁

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