by Peter Lucier
“A few hours after my friend was blown up by the side of the road in southern Helmand Province, I went to the gym. By gym, I mean the wooden squat rack with a rusted barbell and some upright seats made of 2x4s, covered by a dusty tan tarp on which camel spiders crawled, waiting to drop on the unsuspecting. My lifting partner Zach and I went through the same routine we had gone through for the last six months. I think it was a chest day. Members of other platoons occasionally poked their heads in on their way to our platoon’s tent to offer their condolences. We tried to be as gracious as we could, but were anxious to get back to our workout.
“A short month later, I came home. Instead of fellow Marines checking in on me, I was surrounded by civilians. It was hard to connect with them. War had cost me pieces of myself I would never get back, cost me friends I would never get back. I had spent months disassociating myself from basic empathy in order to survive, in order to kill, but now empathy was exactly what I needed. When someone tried their best to check on me, I thought they couldn’t possibly understand. I couldn’t summon the charity to accept their attempt to connect with me. I was too angry.”Click here to continue reading this article at Task & Purpose.