“What does it say?”
Charles reread the paperwork before responding, the crease in his forehead, the telltale sign that it was troubling news, deepened before he had finished, “We are being sued.” Despite his best efforts to remain calm, the final word caught in his throat.
His wife’s right hand made a mad dash to cover her mouth though no sound escaped.
Setting aside the paperwork, Charles took Livia’s left hand in both of his, squeezing gently, reassuring her that everything would be okay in the end. He trusted in their relationship and their faith and he knew that even if the coming case went entirely against them the Lord would show them another path. As long as they were together, as long as they continued to believe, they would be okay.
He smiled and Livia let her hand drop to join the others. She took courage and solace in the strength she found in his hands and the peace she saw in his eyes. She knew what he was thinking, and she agreed. Together, in their faith, they would be okay.
“But, I don’t understand,” she said a few moments later. “Our food is always of the highest quality. Our restaurant is always impeccably clean. We’ve never failed an inspection. We’ve never had any complaints…”
“We are being sued for discrimination.”
Before Livia could completely process what that meant, Charles explained the details of the lawsuit further: “A customer took offense to us praying together at the end of the night in question. They saw one of our end of evening prayers, thanking God for another wonderful day, and the suit claims we violated their rights by forcing them to endure our religious ritual.”
“That’s the way of the world right now.”
“What are we going to do?”
“I’ll call Pastor Reed in the morning and see if she thinks the church will help us hire an attorney to fight the claim. If nothing else, I’m sure she will want to meet with us and we’ll all pray for guidance. And, no matter the outcome, we will be okay. If we go bust, the community will help us stay on our feet. If we have to close the business, God will help us find something else.”
Livia took in a long, slow, breath and then let it out, once again squeezing her husband’s hands, “Okay.”
“Okay,” he replied, smiling again.
Charles raised his eyebrows in query, and Livia finally smiled in return, mischief dancing behind her pained eyes, “Perhaps we should post some signs around the restaurant to let customers know that, before they get served, every meal is blessed in prayer.”