The Reintegration Mash-Up
Relieved because he is home, but anxious for the adjustments we will have to make in the days ahead.
Happy because he is part of the family again, but sad for a loss of my personal independence.
Excited because we can make plans, but apprehensive for the emotional minefields through which we may have to walk.
Peaceful because he is close, but worried for the possibility of another deployment.
Grateful because we can share responsibilities, but frustrated to relinquish the way I have done things while he was away.
Such is the reintegration mash-up. Pop culture defines a mash-up as a mixture or fusion of contrasting elements. Modern day singers have made the musical mash-up popular, but they do not have anything on the reintegration mash-up.
The contrasting emotions you may feel during reintegration are normal. In fact, you need to expect an emotional mash-up. You cannot assume everything will be the same as it was before deployment. At the risk of sounding cliché, the best description is finding a new normal.
The returning Jews in the book of Ezra would have done well to know what to expect during reintegration. Notice the mixed emotions present in Ezra 3:12–13: Some shouted for joy, while others wept aloud. Notice too the reason for the weeping: things were not as they used to be. In remembering the temple before the exile, some focused on the negative which kept them from seeing the possibilities that change could bring.
Sisters, heed this advice from experience: You gain nothing by saying, “I wish things were like they were before you deployed.” Rejoice in the opportunity God has given you to be together again. Allow yourself permission to experience reintegration mash-up, but trust that God can help you navigate a good and blessed future.