A friend of mine tells how her daughter walked out of her life when she married. She chose to turn her back on her mother, her siblings and even the grandchildren she had from another marriage. It’s been nearly five years and the mother has heard nothing from her daughter even though they live only a town away. Additionally the daughter has made no contact with her grandchildren, which further grieves her mother.
Another friend chose to change his lifestyle completely, alienating himself from his wife, children, grandchildren and other family. The change was dramatic and some would even describe as “foreign” yet he can’t understand the pain his decisions made on the rest of the family. He will tell you he longs for a reunion with his family, yet the choices made and pain caused can never be undone.
Other times alienation is not deliberate at all, but rather from a set of unintended circumstances. Sometimes when couples are part of a group that meets regularly and one of the couples decides to drop out of the group, there is a decisive split in the group, even if it’s unintended. The group that still meets has a unique bond and once there is the split, it’s hard to once again become part of the group and sometimes, even when meeting one on one, there is still a bit of tension. Where once conversation was free and easy, it’s now stilted and difficult.
A young woman shares the story of her and her husband who for many years lived in the same small town. When they moved away, she felt forgotten and alone because no one bothered to keep in touch despite her efforts in trying. Another family had a similar experience and those they knew, no longer felt any desire or need to stay in touch even though their paths crossed from time to time. It was as if a relationship had never been. They were hurt and confused.
As humans we long for belonging. It’s the very nature of our existence. Not belonging to someone causes loneliness and isolation. We want to be part of a family, whether that family is biological or an adopted one. It’s why teenagers will come together as a group, and even if behavior isn’t acceptable to all attendees, usually everyone will participate in whatever the action, just because they desire to belong.
So I challenge you to look around. Reflect on yourself, family and friends. Are you feeling like an outsider? Is someone around you feeling left out? Could including someone into your life, ease another's loneliness or pain? Is there need to reflect on your own pain and loneliness to begin a healing process so you can trust another person enough, to alleviate the brokenness you feel, so you will no longer feel alienated? This might be just the day to start!