Reintegration: the action or process of restoring elements regarded as disparate to unity.
Redemption: deliverance, rescue; also, the action of regaining something in exchange for something else, or clearing a debt.
I perch on the edge of the bathtub while one of my long-distance besties curls her hair and gets ready for her day. We’re debriefing some moments from the weekend we just spent together before we part, off to our mostly separate lives until the next time we meet up.
She and I have both known the depths of grief over the last three years, each with our unique pain that has kept our hearts tightly bound together. She looks at me and says, “I believe that God is a God of redemption. I have to believe at the end of it all, we will find redemption for everything.”
I look right back at her, “Yes, I believe in that God, too. And I also don’t think that we need to wait for redemption. I see redemption happening in my life right now. I believe that reintegration is redemption.”
I sit in my therapist’s office, describing how often a childish feeling rises up in me: I’m in trouble. I hate feeling this way, I’m a grown adult. She asks me to close my eyes and see if I can locate the feeling inside of my body.
Almost immediately, I get a mental picture of 16-year-old me, looking in the mirror in the school bathroom, swiping on a fresh layer of lip gloss. I study myself, straight hair, white eyeliner. I tuck my button down shirt into my plaid uniform skirt. That shirt tuck represents so much more. A sense of containment, of making myself appropriate for those around me. The rules for belonging–for survival, really–are clear.