As I start to write this morning, it is 0235 and I must wonder, “why am I up?” The truth of it is that my dreams are horrible. The scars left by war come alive at night for me it seems. My dreams seem to have the light provided by tracer fire, and voices of friends who no longer walk this earth provides the sound. Sometimes, the sound of heavy munitions exploding will break in to provide a different change of pace.
Throughout the bloody dreams the one thing that stays the same is me. Granted, it is a different version of me, but I would recognize me anywhere. In my dreams I am dead inside. Faithless. The boy that joined the Army is nowhere to be seen. The righteousness of my cause is as dead as my eyes. Rubble litters the landscape. All I want is to be home, but the loop that I am stuck in seems unbreakable.
Thankfully, I wake up and realize that I am home in my cabin. My puppy, Chunk, is blissfully snoring. The fog of my dreams slowly dissipates and my addiction to caffeine needs to be sated. My time at war seems to have scarred me to the deepest parts of my humanity. It is going to be okay though. Time may not heal the wounds that war left. However, it will provide me with a perspective so that I can understand that my actions kept me alive for an undisclosed purpose.
The candle that I lit flickers in the darkest corner of my house. Light does not hit this corner, but the small flame flickers and breaks through the darkness. In our darkest hours, hope is the small flame that lights our way. I am thankful to be home. Tears may fall due to the pain, but hope and love balance out the equation. My brothers may have been taken from this life too soon, but war is not waged without a heavy cost.
It would be easy to fall into the trap of bitterness about the cost of war. For many years, I was bitter. However, the only person to pay the price of bitterness is ourselves. Hate, bitterness, and anger is nothing more than self-inflicted harm. Instead of taking a razor blade to our skin, we take it and place wounds on our soul. If time has taught me anything since I have been home it is this: No one is going to love you until you love yourself. God may forgive you, but redemption lies in forgiving yourself. It is difficult to forgive yourself, but you must learn to let the pain go.
This has turned out to be my own personal exorcism this morning. I am glad to be home. Redemption comes on the wings of love and forgiveness. Like this candle lights the dark corner of my house, hope provides the light to break through the darkest corners of our hearts. You guys take care.