: to cause someone to be no longer friendly or close to another person or group
: to cause someone to be no longer involved or connected with something
1: to remove from customary environment or associations
2: to arouse especially mutual enmity or indifference in where there had formerly been love, affection, or friendliness : alienate (source)
I remember the first time I heard the term "estranged". It was on a show, talking about an actress and how she had been seen in public with her estranged father. I was still fairly young at the time and had to look up what it meant. Even after looking it up and understanding its definition, I always felt it an awkward term. It felt peculiar to refer to a family member (or other relation) as "estranged." Wasn't there some other term to explain such a situation?
In my thirty years on this planet, I have unfortunately seen this verb in action in my life. For numerous reasons throughout the years, loved ones have been distanced. For the most part, wounds have healed and relationships were mended (to some extent or another.) At the moment, there are some relationships in my life that have been wounded and ties severed (or mostly severed,) intentional and unintentional. Through experiencing this verb in action, I get it.
I get why estranged is such a perfect term for these relationships. Not just because of the denotative meanings. While the definition fits the moment, the feeling of strangeness is overwhelming. How strange it is to desire to reach out to someone you love and care for, but not allow yourself out of necessity of self-preservation. How strange it is to look at pictures of moments where you were once so at home, yet see yourself missing from the new memories being made. How strange it is to long deeply for the connection you know will only bring hurt. How strange it is to feel like something is missing, unresolved. How strange it is to feel torn between desiring healing and desiring even more distance.
I don't believe it was God's design to have families estranged. I am pretty sure that was Satan's naughty little idea, to come in and corrupt something sacred and beautiful with the kind of hurt and pain that makes people want to turn their backs on the very people who are part and parcel of their being.
The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy... John 10:10(a)
I know this. I have lived it. I still live it. And yet, it all feels so strange.