The moon was full, its silvery beams drifted down from the heavens, like tears I’d shed throughout the years since Fallujah. It was after 0200, but it looked like daybreak. I stared up at the moon, while my earphones blasted Alice Cooper’s ‘Be My Frankenstein’ into my burned out brain. It was hot, sweat intermingled with my tears and gathered on my chin until gravity pulled it toward the soft sand.
“God, are you there?”
Silence was my answer. I knew I wasn’t deserving of mercy or grace, but I had nowhere else to go. My tears seemed to burn as I stared at the moon. It seemed so close to me, as if I could reach out and take into my hands. The song ended, and I started it again.
“Will you forgive me for what I’ve done? How do I forgive myself?”
I stood there for about an hour staring at the moon, crying, in this land of sand and blood, a place of broken limbs and hearts, and I questioned Him as to why I lived when so many others had died. Fallujah happened years ago, but it tormented me even now. I wiped my tears with the back of my Kevlar-knuckled gloves and took a deep breath. You don’t deserve His forgiveness, you deserve His wrath.
I knew that He would forgive me, I’d heard enough sermons in my life to know anything short of blasphemy was covered under His blood. My problem was I couldn’t forgive myself for what I’d done. Between my addled mind and the burnout I experienced, I struggled to keep what remained of my sanity.
There had to be a better way.