Part 2

COMING HOME IS A PROCESS

A healthy coming home leaves room for ups and downs and is centered around good communication. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1

Coming home is a journey of transition and will take time.

2

There will be good days and bad days—or even months—and this is a normal part of coming home.

3

Each person involved needs to understand the journey and be prepared and committed to healthy communication.

Listen again to A.R. “Jiggs” Martin discuss some of his struggles in coming home from Iwo Jima.

EXCITEMENT WEARS OFF

Many veterans and military families initially feel relieved and happy when the deployment is over. But as weeks pass, some are surprised by unexpected challenges to finding their peace at home.

Returning veterans and their families may experience one or more of the following challenges:

Cover Image

Click To Flip  

The veteran feeling a lack of ‘fit’ with family, friends, church, or other circles.

Cover Image

Click To Flip  

The veteran feeling lonely or isolated, especially if they are single.

Cover Image

Click To Flip  

The veteran feeling hypervigilant about safety issues.

Cover Image

Click To Flip  

Role confusion and changes in role functions.

Cover Image

Click To Flip  

The veteran feeling a sense of diminished value or purpose.

Cover Image

Click To Flip  

Ongoing anxiety about the next deployment.

COMING HOME LOOKS DIFFERENT

Each coming home story is unique. Situations are different. Some transitions are temporary. Some are permanent. Some transitions are just the first part of many to come.

WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS

The Bible discusses coming home from many different perspectives. Each of these stories can teach us something new about coming home. Read through each of the stories below and see what you can learn.

In the book of Exodus, the people of Israel long to be set free from slavery in Egypt. Yet after they leave, they long to go back, remembering only the good things and forgetting the hard things about their captivity. This is a common human response to an uncomfortable new reality.

In the book of Ruth, Naomi returns to Bethlehem after ten years in Moab. She speaks honestly about all her losses. Because of her bitterness, she is not able to see God’s faithful love for her expressed through Ruth’s faithful love. This, too, is a normal human response after great loss, because the pain can blind us to everything else.

The book of 2 Chronicles describes how the people of Israel return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple after 70 years of exile in Babylon. When the temple’s foundation is laid, some rejoice, while others weep, remembering the former temple and all that has been lost. Returning home can bring mixed emotions, with joy and sorrow living side by side.

Just like the Israelites in Exodus, often it is easy to remember just the good things about a past experience. Similar to Naomi in the book of Ruth, our bitterness can sometimes blind us to God’s work in our lives. Finally, coming home can be a mix of many different emotions, as seen in the book of 2 Chronicles. Understanding these things can help you prepare for your own coming home experience.

PHASES OF COMING HOME

Another way to prepare yourself for coming home is learning its phases. Coming home tends to unfold in five phases. Watch the video below to learn these phases.

Reflect & Respond

Journal Exercise #2

What stage(s) of coming home do you identify with the most and why? Where have you experienced difficulty in coming home? Where have you experienced success? How has this journey impacted the individuals in your family?

If you have not yet downloaded and printed your Module 6 journal, you can download it now.