In Edward Tick’s Warrior’s Return he describes the necessary and daunting journey for those who have descended into the hell of war – its trauma and moral injury – and returned with healing and restoration. This journey requires exposing the wounding and allowing for catharsis, struggling toward self and other forgiveness, reconciliation with those who were enemies, rehumanizing those who had once been dehumanized, reintegrating with community, making amends and restitution for past wrongs, and finally rising to new meaning and purpose.
I was struck by the depth and sincerity of this prayer from wounded/healed veteran Hugh Scanlen, a man who spent decades of work to heal other vets and himself:
O God, as I begin my walk out of the darkness
and turmoil of conflict,
give me the strength to find a lasting and gentle existence.
Give me the desire to treat all living creatures with respect.
Help me to do no harm for the remaining days of my life.
May I accept who I am now —
not who I have been in the past.
Help me to remember and to dim —
not forget — the tragic past.
Take my experiences and teach me to use them
to understand others
wherever I go. To ban fear, hate,
and violence from my thinking.
Let me understand how one person can make
the world a better place.
Show me the reasons I am still here and what I am to do.
Give me the strength to face the time I have left here
to reconnect with humanity. To feel and give love.
O God, make me whole again.