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Forgiving what seemed unforgivable

After rape, a woman finds peace through prayer.

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At about midnight one night I woke up suddenly to see a young man in a loose-fitting shirt standing in my bedroom doorway. "I have a gun and I'm going to kill you," he said, nodding to what appeared to be the barrel of a revolver pointed at me from under his right-hand front shirttail, "unless you do what I want."

I didn't argue. I prayed.

As he attacked me, this statement flooded my thought: "Remember, thou canst be brought into no condition, be it ever so severe, where Love has not been before thee and where its tender lesson is not awaiting thee. Therefore, despair not nor murmur, for that which seeketh to save, to heal, and to deliver, will guide thee, if thou seekest this guidance." It's from a collection of writings by Mary Baker Eddy, "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany."

Next I silently prayed the Lord's Prayer.

Today, all these years later, it's apparent to me that the spiritual fortitude that sustained me and the "tender lessons" I learned through this experience were the beginning of my serving today in the healing ministry of Christian Science.

As soon as the man left, I went to my mother's room and told her what had happened. She hadn't heard anything, because her bedroom was on the opposite side of the house from mine, in the beach house we lived in on the island of Saipan in what was then the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

She responded with her usual comfort, grace, and wisdom, "Your God-given purity has never been touched. And in reality, neither has his."

The events that followed went very fast.

We reported the crime to the police, who then searched the island and produced a lineup of four men. It was easy to identify my assailant. "Are you sure?" the policeman asked. "Absolutely," I said. "I will never forget that face!"

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