The word hate dregs up memories of sheet covered Klansmen and Jew-hating Nazis. It seems that hate comes in a variety of degrees. The extreme hatred that the Nazis and Klansmen exhibit is only one example of hatred. Personal loathing is something that I am on an intimate level with. War does not create good memories. To further expound upon this, friendships and time spent together is a good memory. However, war seldom produces anything worthwhile.

Personal loathing occurs when we are unable to make peace with actions that we have taken in the past. I would know, I fought in the Second Battle of Fallujah. The anniversary of this horrendous time from my past is next month. Horror was the order of those days. Insurgents would pull people out of their cars, lop off their heads, rape their kids, set people on fire, and those they showed mercy to was shot in the head. In what seems to be moments, I went from being a peace loving kid from the country to overflowing with hatred for people that I didn’t know. Even now, I struggle with it.

One of my doctors is a Muslim lady from India. When I first met her she asked, “Do you have a problem with Muslims?” Maybe it was her attitude which seemed snarky, but my temper quickly escalated. Fury burned in my heart and my pulse raced to new never before seen heights. There are days that I sit in my house and question my existence. Why was I allowed to come home, when so many of my friends didn’t make it back? Or I walk out to my shop and beat nails through a board until my anger is shelved.

My doctor tells me that I do not have an anger problem, rather it is a rage that comes from blind hatred that scars my soul. My psyche is broken, shattered like a vase or some instrument of glass that is destroyed when dropped from a great height. I want so badly to be the boy that I was prior to leaving home for the military. To know the joy that comes from a life well lived. It vexes my soul to be called a good man. Thank you for your service, I dryly acknowledge their sincerity when I am told this.  I smile and accept their thanks but inwardly I grimace upon remembrance. If they only knew what they were saying thank you about. 

The greatest lie ever told is that you do what you have to, to ensure that you come home. No. Sure you can justify it however if you want but the truth is that violence breeds violence. Hate can only bring more hate. If you pray, or when you pray, please say a prayer for me. This battle often feels like one that I will not ever win.

Take care.

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