Peace like a river

I have not been able to sleep well since the sexual assault a few days ago by the TSA, which is detailed below. I have had some very disturbing dreams and have found myself getting extremely depressed. I have felt completely powerless and ashamed.

I’m the kind of person who generally tells himself and others, “get over it, buck up, get your life together.” And I know I will be able to do this. I also try to avoid drama. Life is about choices — live with your choice and move on is my general philosophy. But I have learned a few things that have increased my empathy and given me some peace. Read on.

The first thing I have learned: have empathy and understanding and charity for those who have suffered sexual abuse. What I suffered is not even a fraction, not even close, to what victims of rape and child abuse and sexual harassment have to deal with. And what I suffered really is messing with my mind in weird, unexpected ways.

If you know anybody who has suffered anything like this, and you never have, please keep in mind that there are strange connections between our emotions and our sexual beings and our sense of privacy that are not always obvious. Somebody who assaults your privacy in the way I was assaulted is chipping away at the things that are the most personal and important to most people. I have felt extremely dirty, like I constantly need to clean myself. As I say, it stirs very weird, unexpected reactions.

One reaction that I didn’t expect: I have absolutely no sense of humor about this situation. There is absolutely nothing funny or harmless or satirical about an unwanted person rubbing your private parts and thrusting his hand down your pants. It violates everything that is good.

Now the good news: there is a way out. There is peace like a river. I was feeling extremely depressed yesterday, and, as is my habit, I turned on my ipod. I had the Priesthood session on my ipod. I wasn’t sure if I was in the mood to listen to it, but Conference started, and an immediate feeling of peace washed over me. President Uchtdorf’s talk just filled me with happiness. This morning I listened to President Eyring and President Monson and the Spirit filled me with love. It was like thunderbolt of the Spirit came from the sky. I don’t know how else to explain it. I felt washed clean.

So, the other thing I have learned is: if you are suffering through a difficult time, turn to the modern-day prophets. Listen to Conference. Read the Ensign. Read the scriptures. Give it a try. It really is helping me.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

6 thoughts on “Peace like a river

  1. This is a lovely post, Geoff.

    I know exactly what you mean about not seeing anything funny about a situation. It can be very hard when other people don’t understand why you feel that way. It can add to whatever emotional hurt self-doubt you are already experiencing, to have others calling into question your judgement about your own feelings and sense of humor.

    I hope you can continue to find refuge in the Lord.

  2. This left me with tears and a huge lump in my throat.

    I’m so sorry for what you went through and for the repercussions of it. I’m so grateful that you took the time to post this, though. SO powerful.

    p.s. This scripture has helped me understand why water in motion (rivers, ocean, waterfalls) are so comforting to me. And isn’t it interesting that the Lord’s voice is described by Joseph Smith as the rushing of great waters?

    Thank you again.

  3. Post Traumatic Stress is a difficult emotional burden to bear. You are on the right road to finding peace from this horrible memory. You will be abel to take this experience and effectively help others similarly traumatized. Good luck to you Geoff you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  4. So glad that Conference is displacing some of the bad feelings stirred up by the recent ugly incident with TSA goons, Geoff. It was one of the better Conferences of recent years, both for the things said (such as Presiding Bishop Burton’s talk on helping the needy) and the things not said (no 14 Fundamentals, etc.).

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