I always thought of humans as an integrated organism. All of our parts: mind, heart, body, indelibly working together until death; the identity and placement of each block critical to the function of the whole human being.
War tore through my life like a massive explosion and scattered my blocks with its violent hand, the multiple blast waves sent shrapnel deep into my heart and soul. Each wave coming before recovery from the previous wave was possible.
“What exactly was it about your experience that was so brutal?” The counselor asks. What was it that caused this disconnect I think? What sent me, a strong mature soldier experienced with war running to a far attic of my mind? Hiding—door locked against the world? By choice isolated and alone.
I met each soldier at a time in their life when I was their last hope. Mortar, missile, IED, gunfire, tore through their lives, tore through their tissue in a way that was brutally real,
not a metaphor. Our team set to work all in our areas of expertise. I barely noticed the smell of blood, burnt flesh and tissue, explosive powders, which used to overwhelm me.
The queasiness and urge to scream had disappeared.
Underneath their burnt and bloodied faces, the familiarity of their distorted features slowly impressed itself into our brains. We attempted to save these soldiers—their unrecognizable body of barely attached flesh,
Tell their families they loved them very much, and they couldn't wait to see them again.
I stumbled out of hell back into my life of goodness and kindness and just cause.
I am a jumbled mess of new building blocks too hideous for the world to see. I gather the blocks strewn around the attic room and try to make some sense of them, but most of the time I look at each block numbly, trying to figure out its significance to a healthy and whole human experience.
Sporadically the blocks come together and with blindingly insightful comprehension I rush to place as many blocks as possible back into the structure of self, anxious to recreate a cohesive identity and leave my attic room for good.