A First Army senior religious affairs Soldier has unexpectedly branched into the writing field. Sgt. 1st Class Arthur Washington of Division West’s 120th Infantry Brigade had his work published in the anthology, His Turn: When Enough Was Enough.
“If someone had told me that I was going to do that, I probably would have laughed at them,” he said. “I never saw myself writing. I would have never expected to see my name on a book.”
According to an online product description, the book “is an anthology based on the lives and experiences of five men of God who soon find out what they thought they had control over, actually had control over them. They share how they came face-to-face with death, abuse, addictions, and infidelity. They soon discovered the sting of the inevitable fall that comes when we seek to do things our way.”
Washington approached the project with some hesitation.
“I was nervous because I was really getting ready to open myself up,” he recalled. “You get to second guessing yourself and you’re wondering what would people think. How would the people who know you feel or react?”
But he decided to go ahead with the project when he realized it could be an avenue to help others. Washington’s portion centers on the sexual abuse he suffered as a child, and penning it proved cathartic, he said. By extension, he hopes the memoir will reach those in the same situation.
“This is meant to help someone who is out there who has been in my shoes and we need to be able to let people know, this is how I was blessed to come out of this situation,” Washington said. “I wanted somebody to be able to heal.”
And that has been the case. Washington reports that he has “gotten a lot of feedback from the book…and it has really been helping a lot of folks. The book actually helped an individual not commit suicide and it’s helped a few folks who have been incarcerated. It’s an anthology that helps folks in crisis.”
The idea for the work came from Karen Lomax, an Army Reserve chaplain with the 416th Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Battalion (Airborne). She is also a Ph.D., editor, author, publisher, and literary agent.
“When she gave us the title, I just felt like the lord was pressing me to talk about that because, especially with males, that’s a taboo,” Washington said. “They don’t necessarily talk about it.”
Washington first opened up about his trauma in a SHARP course in 2013.
“From there, I spoke a couple of times and a counselor asked me had I fully healed,” he said. “That was right about the time that Dr. Karen Lomax was like, ‘Hey, I’m looking for five guys to write a book and here’s the title. Who’s interested?’”
Washington knew it was time to act: “Since I had been blessed to get some help and get healed, somebody needed to hear that story.”