She saw that the man had a priest’s collar,
so she said, “Excuse me, Father.”
He looked up with a blank, pleasant face.
“Yes?” he asked,
as though he were an employee in this coffee shop
(He obviously was not.)
“Can I talk to you for a moment?” she asked,
“I’ve been having some problems.”
“Why, certainly,” he replied automatically
although this was his lunch hour,
and she wasn’t a member of his congregation.
He hoped this wouldn’t take very long.
“What seems to be troubling you?”
“Everything just seems so horrible now,” she began,
staring at her hands.
He had heard this sort of thing before.
More and more frequently, to be honest.
“People hating and killing and the war…” she trailed off.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
“Sarah,” she replied.
“Sarah, these cruelties are nothing new in our history.
People have always hated and killed. There have always been wars.”
“I know, but…”
“Focus on the good,” he urged. “There’s goodness all around you.”
“I know, but…”
“And you must also do good. Be part of the solution.”
“That’s the problem, Father. I am the solution.”
He cocked his head at her, confused.
She continued staring at her hands.
“I’ve been given a mission,
and I don’t know if I have the courage
to carry it out.
When it’s all over,” she said,
finally looking into his eyes,
“I hope you’ll tell them all that I had my doubts.”
“My dear, what do you mean?” he asked, slightly alarmed.
“Focus on the good, Father. Be part of the solution.”
She got up and stepped out of the coffee shop,
blending effortlessly into the crowd of commuters outside.