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Author Katie Mettner

Faith, Hope and Love. The Greatest of these is Grace

Last year I wrote a blog post about Kelly and Jesse Cottle and I gave my opinion of what I think the greatest of these three are. I'm happy to be able to post an update today about this couple. See the end of the post for the second update. 
(Original post was on the RUSH foot blog.

 I signed onto Facebook yesterday and my friend Richie Sainz had posted a picture and said “How awesome is this picture and story?” I’ll admit it took me several minutes to get to the story because the picture had me captivated. It was an image of a young blond woman wrapped in her lovers arm as they smiled at the camera with abandonment and one word came to mind. HOPE. It’s funny, but I never even noticed the rest of the picture because all I kept thinking was hope and how much I had when I was that young with the arms of the man I loved around me. My eyes finally wandered the length of the picture and I sat back and smiled. I didn’t yet know what their story was, but what I saw was this woman holding him up, her hands wrapped tenderly around the ends of his limbs as his rested near hers, their wedding rings side by side, and again I saw hope. When I finally managed to tear my eyes away to read the story I learned it was Kelly Cottle carrying her husband Jesse, a Marine, back to his prosthetic legs after taking a family picture in the lake.

Photo courtesy of @Shutterhappy Photography Copyrighted

  Being an amputee myself I just couldn’t get the image of this young couple out of my mind as I went about my day yesterday. When I laid down last night I began to think about them again and I realized just how much hope had to happen in order for them to be in that picture together. Then, as usually happens, my mind wandered to how many times he hoped. My eyes fluttered closed and pieces of his journey played through my mind. It started when his fellow Marines looked at each other and said “I hope he makes it”. Then the morning after the operation when he woke up and thought “I hope the pain is better today” and after he had healed and held his breath rolling on a prosthetic liner for the first time saying, "I hope this doesn't hurt." I saw him standing tall looking down the length of the parallel bars waiting to take his first steps and thinking, "I hope I don’t fall!" I can’t say for sure as I have never meet Jesse, but I do know that “I hope” is the beginning of a lot of sentences for new amputees.

 One thing I’ve also learned in my life is “I hope” begins a lot of sentences for all of us. Ever wonder why? Well if you ask me it’s because hope is the ultimate human emotion. Whoa! I can almost see everyone shaking their heads saying, “No, it’s love! Love is the ultimate human emotion!” I’m familiar with that bible verse, but here is why I feel like hope trumps love; because without hope we don’t have love. Stop and think about it for a minute, picture the first time Jesse got up the nerve to ask Kelly on a date. I wasn’t there, but I’m guessing he said to himself or a buddy, "I hope she says yes" and being a woman I can almost bet when Kelly got dressed for their first date she said to her best friend or mother "I hope he likes this outfit!" See they weren't in love yet, but there was HOPE. I look at this picture of their whole family caught for one moment in time and I see Matt Forrester, Kelly’s brother, sharing Jesse’s weight with his sister, and he hopes. He hopes at least for that moment he can help support them. I see the parents of their niece and nephew who hope that as they grow up with Jesse as a role model they will learn determination in the face of adversity and empathy for all they meet. Can you see it? This is what hope looks like.

Photo courtesy of @Shutterhappy Photography Copyrighted

 When I contacted Sarah to ask permission to use the photos for this blog I asked her for the first two, but she sent me three. The third one was one I hadn’t seen before, but this time I saw the whole picture with complete clarity. I saw a warrior standing tall in the face of all he’s been through to find the woman who really completes him and I saw the woman who personifies strength and acceptance who finds peace in his arms. I want to say thank you to Kelly and Jesse for helping me make my case. You see because they had hope, they have love.

Photo courtesy of @Shutterhappy Photography Copyrighted

I still stand by my original opinion that they needed HOPE to find LOVE, but in December Kelly gave birth to a little girl, and they named her Grace. Jesse needed Grace under fire and God's grace to get to the day he saw his wife holding his daughter. So I ask, faith, hope, love or grace, which is the greatest in your life?  

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