In a provocative 13 minute TED Talk war correspondent Sebastian Junger tries to answer a disturbing question. Why do so many veterans, especially those who served in active duty, miss war?
After 20 years of covering the horrors and inhumanity of the battlefield, Junger found a painful irony—what veterans miss is the opposite of what war stands for. Many vets never experience in their return to civilian life anything like the sense of purpose they found in combat. In a shared mission, they had put the welfare of their group above their own safety. In effect, Sebastian says, “You’re saying, “I love these other people more than I love myself.”
Over the years, I’ve heard other soldiers say something similar. Instead of trying to defend the politics or national cause of their side, they talk about the importance of being there for one another; having each others back— even to the point of being willing to die for the group. And from time to time, such comments have left me thinking about what it means to be in a greater war in which our purpose also is not just about about trying to defend a principle… or to kill someone.
Even in the differences I find stories like that of Sebastian Junger to be a reminder of what must have been going on in the heart of someone like the Apostle Paul who occasionally referred to his friends as fellow soldiers. It just doesn’t seem natural to be fighting a war of love—in which our Commander in Chief, has already sacrificed his own life for to make peace with his enemy.