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  • Caleb Ward

Shopping for Peace

Updated: Sep 16, 2021



A man trudged into a small shop. A little bell rung above the door and his footsteps echoed on the shiny tile.

Upon seeing the customer, the salesman plastered on a large smile as he stood by the counter.

“Hello sir, what can I do for you today?”

“Hi, I would like to buy some peace.”

“Fantastic, we here have a wide selection of peace.”

The seller turned around and pointed to different options along the back wall.

“Here we have the cheapest option, presenting peace. This works okay for when you don’t have time to get a better one, you simply suppress everything and fake a smile.”

The man fidgeted “I’ve tried that, it just makes me feel more alone and depressed.”

“Yea long term it doesn’t work very well, but hey, it’s cheap.” The man pointed to another row with a variety of items on it. “Here is a very popular one right now, self help, there’s been a lot of books written about it and everyone is buying it. There are lots of different brands but they all focus on you bettering yourself to get peace.”

“What brands are there?”

“I’m glad you asked, we have the best selection in the state.” The salesman picked up a few and placed them on the countertop. “Here is yoga, meditation, decluttering, mindfulness, being true to yourself, and goal setting, to name a few.” He pointed to each one. “You use each of these to trick yourself into feeling peaceful.”

“Do any of them actually work in every situation?” The man began to bite his lip. “I’ve just had a really rough couple of years. And I don’t think I have it in me to create peace myself.”

The salesman winced slightly. “Yea this isn’t that kind of peace, this is more about dealing with being late to work or some minor inconvenience.” He put he self-help section back on the shelves.

Both were silent and the salesman began tapping his fingers on the glass counter.

“Escapism is always a fun one. Either nature, or movies, or childhood, or alcohol, or laughter, escapism is a great way to avoid anything sad.” He held up several fliers of people laughing and having fun.

“But is it real peace?”

“Um, kinda. It’s more of a knockoff version.”

“Is there any actual peace?” The man grew impatient.

“What’s really popular now is finding inner peace, we have some great ways to find the peace within you.” The salesman turned around to grab it.

“There’s nothing peaceful about what’s inside me, I need something that actually works.”

The salesman turned back around and winced. “Yea most of these aren’t that kind of peace.”

A thick book that lay in the corner caught the man’s attention. The yellowing pages had accrued a thick coat of dust .

“What’s that?”

The salesman walked over and placed his hand on the book, making a handprint in the blanket of dust.

“Well that would be the best peace we have, the peace that passes all understanding. It’s the peace only God can give and works great in every situation.”

“Why is it all dusty?”

“Well unlike the other ones, this one has a very steep price, it costs surrendering to God and trusting in his plan. There are knock off versions but those don’t work very well when facing real problems. While this is the best model out there, God’s brand is a little too pricey for most people and they end up returning it.”

“I really don’t know where else to go, I’ll try it out.”

The salesman blew the dust off the book, creating a cloud of swirling particles that landed on the counter.

“If you say so.” He handed the book to the man. “Here you go.”

The man stared at the cover for a long time before putting it under his arm and walking out of the store.

“What a weird man,” the salesman remarked, normally people found the other brands way more enticing.

A frazzled woman with wild hair walked in, one kid attached to her hip, another to her leg.

“Give me the fastest peace you’ve got,” she said, slamming a crumpled wad of cash onto the countertop.

The salesman put on another smile and went to work.



 

If you like this, check out an exclusive short story here

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